“Our statement about the Governors budget speech:
The budget plan the Governor announced yesterday is not only a catastrophe for the University but an attack on the very idea of public higher education in Illinois. He wrongly thinks that cutting back on our citizens’ access to a serious research university will grow our economy and (like his colleague in Wisconsin) he also thinks somehow that attacking public workers is the way to prosperity.
Members of our union will naturally differ on how to solve the state’s budget problems. But it’s hard for any of us to see how the Governor’s cutbacks are taking us in the right direction. After all, as the nonpartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability has shown in its recent analysis of Illinois public finances, the state has been cutting spending for more than 15 years, to the point where the current fiscal year budget spends between 23% and 28% less…than was spent in FY 2000. That includes a 41% cut (inflation adjusted) in money for higher education. Illinois has the country’s 5th largest population, 5th highest GDP, and 12th highest per capita income, yet ranks 28th in general fund spending per capita, 36th in general fund spending as a share of state GDP. Illinois ranks 49th in number of state workers per 1,000 residents.
But even for those who are unimpressed by the statistics, it is impossible not to see that abandoning higher education at the very moment when education matters more than ever is a recipe for disaster.
Who will fight for higher education in Illinois? Faculty unions. Our colleagues at Springfield have just won certification, and as the first recognized faculty union in the UI system, UICUF is too. We are exercising our contractually won right to consult with our Chancellor on the budget in two weeks. Using our connections with the AFT and the IFT, we can, together with our fellow Illinois unionists, put pressure on Governor Rauner and the legislature to not allow these cuts and UI’s Board of Trustees, our new President and new Chancellor to make wise decisions and to fight for our university and public higher education.
But we need your help! If you already belong to UICUF, your union reps will soon be consulting with you about how we can proceed.
If you don’t belong to UICUF, now is the time to join! A strong union can take on the issues no single professor or group of faculty members can do alone.
Right from the start, our union has been dedicated to both parts of UIC’s access to excellence mission. The Governor’s budget will limit access and jeopardize excellence. If you want to be serious about your commitment to UIC, join us in standing up for ourselves and for public higher education
We look forward to hearing from you and working with you.
UIC United Faculty, Executive Board”