December 7, 2017

Part-Time Faculty at Columbia College Chicago Hold Two-Day Strike

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—More than three hundred part-time faculty at Columbia College Chicago participated in a strike organized by the union that represents them to protests the school’s bad-faith bargaining over increased wages and threats to job security and academic freedom. The union, Part-Time Faculty Association of Columbia College, was one of the first in the nation to represent part-time faculty at a private college has seen its ranks dwindle from 1200 members to 650. PFAC has opposed the college’s call for federal mediation, arguing that the college administration has not provided the communication necessary to even require mediation.

William Lee reports for the Chicago Tribune that PFAC was joined by representatives of the Chicago Teacher’s Union and that fifty classes at the college were cancelled as a result of the protest. Negotiations have been ongoing since fall 2016, and part-time faculty have been working on an expired contract since August 31.

For Hyperallergic, Janina Ciezadlo, a founding member of PFAC, writes that the school has historically employed “working professionals” in the arts to teach a traditionally “less economically advantaged” student population. She notes that the college’s administration has sprawled and tuition increased while humanities course offerings and funding for the nationally recognized Black Music Reasearch Center has been cut. No agreement has yet been reached between the college and the part-time faculty union.

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