College, University Strike Wave Continues Its Swell Into 2023
January 24, 2023
One university faculty union recently went on strike and another threatened to walk off the job before they each reached agreements with their respective schools, a signal that labor unrest in higher education will continue to surge in 2023.
University of Illinois Chicago faculty members struck for nearly a week before their union came to terms with the administration over the weekend. A union representing professors at New York City’s Fordham University also set a Jan. 30 strike deadline before agreeing to a new labor contract last week.
The membership of each union must approve the tentative deals before they go into effect.
Meanwhile, graduate student workers at Temple University in Philadelphia authorized a strike in a November vote, though they haven’t set a trigger date.
“We’re going through a post-pandemic strike wave,” said William Herbert, executive director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College-City University of New York.
The ongoing labor strife on college campuses is part of a broader trend of increased strike action across the US economy. Union work stoppages hit a 17-year high in 2023, according to Bloomberg Law’s database of work stoppages.
Professors, graduate teaching and research assistants, and other academic workers went on strike 15 times in 2022, headlined by the University of California system strike that lasted nearly six weeks and involved 48,000 graduate student workers. The year saw the most strikes by academic workers in higher education in at least 20 years, a review of the work stoppages database showed.