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SAIC Faculty Rally to Unionize

Part-time faculty announce their intention to join AICWU/AFSCME.

By and News, Photo, Photo Essay

Dozens gather on the steps of the Art Institute with a banner that reads "SAIC AICWU Faculty Union."

Photos by Nestor Kok.

Part-time faculty announced their intention to unionize with Art Institute of Chicago Workers United (AICWU), part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31, via a school-wide email and rally on Tuesday, May 10.

The announcement was circulated in a public letter, which points out that more than 75% of the faculty at SAIC are part-time and non-tenure-track faculty working in a “two-tier system of compensation and benefits that is creating a permanent underclass of contingent faculty.” Nearly 200 faculty signed the public letter in support of forming the union.

Dozens on the steps of AIC rallying.

Part-time faculty and non-tenure track faculty seek commitment and stability from SAIC in the form of long-term contracts.

A protester holds a sign listing her commitments to SAIC.

To teach at SAIC requires a terminal degree, and many SAIC faculty received their MFA degrees from SAIC.

A person holds a yellow sign with red sunglasses.

Rally attendees commented that the unionizing efforts provided the first opportunity to create a part-time and non-tenure track faculty community.

In a crowd, the sign reads, "Unionize? Duh."

Between mentoring, curriculum writing, panel participation, and committees, the workload of part-time and non-tenure track faculty often matches that of full-time faculty, yet no retirement, tuition, or health benefits are available to contingent faculty.

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