Illinois Judge Rejects Challenge to Union for Tenure-Track and Adjunct Faculty

A state judge has denied a request by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees to block tenure-track and adjunct faculty members at the university system’s Chicago campus from jointly forming a union. In a ruling handed down Tuesday, Ellen Maureen Strizak, an administrative-law judge with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, rejected the university system’s argument that a state law saying such faculty unions “shall include all tenured and tenure-track faculty” should be interpreted as precluding the membership of adjuncts. She also rejected the system’s argument that adjunct and tenure-track faculty members do not have enough in common to belong to a single union, noting that both types of faculty members have similar educational backgrounds, teach the same courses, serve together on committees, and have many of the same responsibilities. The university system plans to appeal Judge Strizak’s decision to the full labor-relations board.

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