On April 29, 2011, the AFT/IFT and the AAUP filed hundreds of authorization cards to unionize the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
This a dramatic step. Gary Rhoades, the General Secretary of the AAUP, declared that “this is the first major, large public research university in 30 to 40 years” to unionize. UIC is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in America ever to demand union representation for their faculty. UIC's union is also notable because it will include both non-tenure-track fuull-time faculty and tenure-track faculty
Under state law, faculty at public colleges can unionize without a vote when a majority of them sign a card for having the union. At UIC, approximately 60 percent of the faculty signed the “card check” authorizing the union.
AAUP president Cary Nelson, who spoke along with Rhoades at the AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress regional conference and Illinois AAUP annual meeting, said: “This is a time to fight.”
Rhoades predicted, “I think this victory is going to send shockwaves through administrations” across the country.