by Israa Alzamli and Joseph Bedortha
Members of Loyola’s SEIU, a union representing non-tenure-track faculty members and part-time instructors in the College of Arts and Sciences and the English Language Learning Program, are currently holding a strike on the Lake Shore Campus.
The picket lines formed this morning and rallies are scheduled to be held throughout the day.
The strike follows two years of negotiations with the university’s administration.
SEIU members are hoping to secure better pay, health benefits and job security.
The two sides met until 10:00 p.m last night.
Loyola sent out a campus-wide email condemning the strike and stating that they had made efforts to “reach a fair and reasonable agreement.”
The next negotiation meeting is scheduled for April 20.
Both sides have said they hope to resolve the situation sooner.
At an event Wednesday, many students joined with faculty members.
“It was electric”, said Anya Hardin, a freshman at Loyola and a member of the International Socialists Organization.
Students and faculty alike donned orange caps, carried signs, and shouted chants such as “hey hey, ho ho, these poverty wages have got to go.”
This march came days after negotiations between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing Loyola’s non-tenured faculty, and the university, failed to reach an agreement. Margaret Faut Callahan, Loyola’s acting provost, released a statement from the school on Wednesday.
“Loyola did not want a strike and our negotiating team has bargained in good faith since the start of negotiations to avoid one”, Callahan stated in her open letter. “Our goal remains as it has been from the start—to achieve a fair and reasonable contract that is consistent with our commitment to social justice and our Jesuit values.”
Joseph Losco, a professor of political theory at Loyola, said he was there to mainly to support younger teachers.
“I have come back to the classroom from retirement for the sheer love of the teaching profession. However, there are hundreds of young faculty [members] at Loyola and elsewhere with no job security, little pay, and high health care costs who are having trouble raising a family and making a livable wage.”
“Students are ill-served when the faculty they depend upon find themselves unable to expend their full energies on scholarship and service to students,” Losco continued. “I do not know if the Loyola administration was listening but I certainly hope they were and that they will act in the manner expected of the custodians of a Jesuit institution.”