August 15, 2023

Art Institute of Chicago, School of the Art Institute Chicago employees ratify union contract

More than 500 employees of the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) have ratified their first union contract.

AIC and SAIC employees formed their union, Art Institute of Chicago Workers United (AICWU)/AFSCME, in January 2022. Contract negotiations began in May 2022 and resulted in a tentative agreement on July 31 this year. Over the past week, union members attended ratification meetings to review the terms of the agreement and vote on its approval.

“AIC and SAIC staff made history when they formed the first major museum union in Chicago. Now they’ve secured a landmark union contract that raises pay, creates new career opportunities, keeps health care affordable and protects workers’ rights on the job,” Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “By coming together, AIC and SAIC employees are improving their working lives and blazing the trail for other cultural workers in Chicago and beyond.”

Under the four-year agreement, wages will increase at least 12.25% and as much as 16.25% across the board, with lower-paid employees receiving higher increases. In addition, the wage floor will rise to $17 an hour now and $18 an hour in 2025, and employees will continue to be eligible for additional raises based on merit.

Among other provisions:

AICWU/AFSCME also represents some 600 non-tenure-track faculty at SAIC, who have begun negotiations toward their own collective bargaining agreement.

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