Graduate assistants at the University of Illinois at Chicago reached a deal with their administration Friday, ending their two-week strike. The tentative contract includes pay increases, less expensive health care and other gains, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The American Federation of Teachers-affiliated union reached a tentative contract deal Thursday night but continued the strike for another day to work out a settlement forbidding retaliation for strike participants, and allowing graduate assistants the opportunity to make up work hours missed by May 3. The expected retroactive raise for this year will be included in grads’ May paycheck, the union announced -- an extra $815 for those on 50 percent appointments. Grads make a minimum salary of $18,000 and pay $2,000 in university fees, according to information from the union.
The new contract includes reduced fees, increased contributions to health-care plans and family coverage, and a $2,550 pay increase over three years, the largest raise in the union’s history, according to the Sun-Times. A campus announcement from Chancellor Michael Amiridis, Provost Susan Poser and Vice Chancellor Robert Barish said, “We have always valued our graduate employees and their contributions to our academic mission,” according to the Chicago Tribune. “This agreement will help ensure a solid foundation for the future of our graduate workers while supporting all students as they pursue their educational goals at Chicago’s public research university.”