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Cultural workers win at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Photo credit: Apollo Nava.
Cultural workers win at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
By AFSCME Council 31 ·
Tags: Momentum Wages

More than 600 non-tenure-track faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) have voted overwhelmingly to form their union with AFSCME.

The SAIC adjunct professors and lecturers voted 377-33 in recent weeks to join Art Institute of Chicago Workers United (AICWU), the AFSCME-affiliated local union formed last year by staff of the school and museum. Past coverage of organizing at the Art Institute of Chicago and SAIC is available here.

“Our colleagues have emphatically said yes to our union,” the SAIC Faculty AICWU Organizing Committee wrote in announcing the news. “Along with the staff at the school and museum, we've achieved an AICWU three-peat that sends a crystal-clear message to our president, provost and board: We know our worth, we know how critical our labor is to our institution, and we know it's time to put it in writing.”

In the coming weeks, the new AFSCME members will begin preparing to bargain their first union contract, including electing a bargaining committee to represent them in negotiations, holding listening sessions with their colleagues, and distributing a bargaining survey so everyone can share the issues that matter to them.

“Nothing is more gratifying than helping workers claim their seat at the table,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “SAIC non-tenure-track faculty are devoted to their students, school and community, and by forming their union will make SAIC better for all.”

AFSCME’s Cultural Workers United campaign is at the forefront of the sector’s organizing wave both locally (including the Art Institute of Chicago, SAIC, the Newberry Library and most recently the Field Museum) and across the country.

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