Illinois State Budget: University of Illinois Threatens More Layoffs

May 11, 2003

The jobs of workers at the University of Illinois and other state colleges are under attack.

Last month, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich released his FY 2004 budget proposal, detailing further cuts in higher education. These cuts, which come on top of FY 2003 reductions, are having a drastic impact on jobs at UIC.

In April, for example, the University of Illinois President, James Stukel, threatened to cut more university jobs as a result of the new state budget proposal, stating "The proposed budget for 2004 rolls back state support for the University to a level of nearly what it received in 1998" and "...this budget will require reductions in staff, faculty, classes and programs."

University administrators are already threatening to cut 1,160 positions. Last year, several hundred full-time jobs were eliminated, and a wage freeze was imposed on employees, which is still in effect.

In addition, UIC is preparing to eliminate 1,000 course offerings and raise student tuition by 5%. In the past two years, the University of Illinois budget has been slashed by over $270 million.

These attacks on the livelihoods of university workers are part of a generalized offensive against public workers throughout Illinois. Federal, state, county and city governments are all slashing social investments and "balancing" their budgets on the backs of public workers.

Thus in defending their jobs and wages, public sector workers are defending the interests of all the working people by fighting to maintain vital public services.

At UIC, workers are already speaking out, organizing meetings and demonstrations in opposition to Stukel's budget cutting and layoffs.