Over 1,500 workers go on strike at UIC, walking off two weeks before finals

It’s a stressful time at the University of Illinois-Chicago—the last two weeks before finals. 

On Monday, about 1,500 graduate workers walked off the job.

Teaching and graduate assistants are represented by the Graduate Employees Union. 

They have been working without a contract since August and voted to go on strike beginning April 18. They lead classes, hold office hours, and grade papers while doing research and pursuing their own educational objectives. 


Their union says they are paid about $20,000 per year and live in poverty while trying to make ends meet in Chicago. Students and alumni empathize with financial struggles.

UIC Chancellor Michael D. Amiridis wrote a letter to students informing them of the strike and saying it will not impact university operations or grades. 

He said the university has participated in 30 contract negotiations in the past year, eight of them under the guidance of a federal mediator.

The main sticking points are wages/stipends, healthcare and student fees.