State Court Rejects Joint Adjunct-Tenured Union at U. of Illinois-Chicago

An Illinois appeals court ruled on Thursday that faculty members at the University of Illinois at Chicago could not form a single union consisting of both tenured and tenure-track professors and adjunct professors. Reversing an earlier decision by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, a panel of judges held that a provision of state law—which says faculty unions “shall include all tenured and tenure-track faculty”—forbids adjuncts to join such a union. Though the language of the law is ambiguous, the court ruled, the legislative intent of the statute supports the exclusion of adjuncts. The legal battle at the Chicago campus is one of several recent disputes illustrating the challenges that face efforts to unionize adjuncts, who now make up about two-thirds of all faculty members.

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