As Chicago State University faculty begins strike, other universities could follow
By ANDREW ADAMS
Capitol News Illinois
CHICAGO – Faculty at Chicago State University, a small public university on Chicago’s South Side, went on strike Monday after months of stalled negotiations with university administrators.
Faculty at Eastern Illinois University and Governors State University have also filed paperwork declaring their intent to strike, with strikes possible as early as Thursday and Friday, respectively.
All three faculties, which are part of University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100, voted to authorize a strike with a 97 percent margin of membership or higher.
Northeastern Illinois University faculty have also been in negotiations with administrators since July last year after working under a contract first approved in 2014. The NEIU faculty union has requested mediation.
CSU’s strike has garnered messages of solidarity from union leaders in Chicago, including the heads of the Cook County College Teachers Union and the Chicago Teachers Union.
Strike leaders at CSU as well as the university’s administration have pointed to wages as a key sticking point.
In 2021, professors, lecturers and instructors at CSU made an average of $67,323, which was $17,386 lower than the average salary for those roles at other state universities, according to records from the state’s Board of Higher Education. EIU faculty made $76,244, which is $8,370 lower than the average for other universities.
“I’m really quiet and shy, but I’ve had to come out and stand up and stand out because I’m seeing so much injustice,” CSU faculty union president Valerie Goss told strikers at a Monday rally.
CSU said in a statement on Saturday that the union’s financial demands “far exceed our current economic position.”
Negotiations at EIU are also stuck on compensation.
“For months now, EIU administration has proposed to us an effective pay cut,” EIU faculty’s lead negotiator Billy Hung said in a statement last week. “And for months, we’ve said that our members will not agree to work more for less.”
EIU released a statement after the faculty authorized a strike, saying that the union’s proposal would cost the university $10 million over the contract’s four-year term.
The university cited the unclear future of international student enrollment as well as state budgeting to explain their inability to meet the union’s demands.
“Given this uncertainty and the forecasted demographic cliff facing all universities, the University needs to continue to be focused on financial stability,” the statement read.
Governors State’s faculty union president Mike Hart said disagreements over finances as well as the “overwhelming workload” that academic advisors face were the areas of disagreement that led to the strike authorization.
“No one wants to strike, but we are willing to if necessary to settle a fair contract that gives us the support required to ensure our students get the resources they need to succeed,” he said in a news release last week.
Representatives from Governors State have indicated that the sides are making progress.
“Progress is being made at the bargaining table and that is where we will be directing our energy – toward reaching an equitable new contract,” Will Davis, a spokesperson for the university, said in an email Tuesday.
University Professionals of Illinois is part of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, one of the two major teachers unions in the state. IFT President Daniel Montgomery said that the current divide between the universities and their faculty is ultimately a byproduct of years of underfunding from the state.
“This is what happens when you have 20 years of disinvestment in higher education,” Montgomery told Capitol News Illinois Monday.
Although he said faculty at Governors State and EIU won’t necessarily strike, Montgomery called the CSU strike the “tip of the spear.”
“It’s cyclical and I think we’re in a period where people are saying ‘I’m not going to take this anymore,’” Montgomery said.
The strike authorizations follow tense bargaining at other state universities, including a January strike at the University of Illinois Chicago that lasted six days and bargaining last spring at the University of Illinois Springfield that was resolved two days before a strike would have begun.
Beyond higher education, labor rights have been the subject of significant recent debate in Illinois, with voters narrowly passing a constitutional amendment in November that guarantees the right of workers to collectively bargain. The amendment also bars the state from passing “right-to-work” laws.
While last year saw a jump in the number of major strikes nationwide, strikes are still far less common than they once were, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2022, there were 26 strikes with more than 1,000 participants. While that is the highest level since 2001, it is 5.5 percent of the peak number of strikes in 1952.
Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
Justice lights village Christmas trees
Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan Justice village officials spent a few minutes before their board meeting last week to celebrate the holiday season by lighting the village Christmas tree and other decorated trees in front of the village hall. Mayor Kris Wasowicz lit the tree and wished everyone a wonderful holiday season. After the tree…
Beds Plus to hold ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ pop-up bar in Brookfield
Spread the loveGeorge Bailey is coming to Brookfield for the Beds Plus third annual “It’s a Wonderful Life” pop-up bar. Come and get your wings from Nick to help those in need of “a couple of decent rooms and a bath.” Beds Plus works to reduce and end homelessness in your community. The pop-up event…
Consultant backs Willow Springs on zoning of LTHS parcel
Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch All for one and one for all was the theme of last week’s community meeting held at the Willow Springs Village Hall. Concerned residents, politicians from the village and surrounding communities joined in their opposition to any industrial development of a parcel of land in the village owned by the…
2 men charged in shooting of Bedford Park cop
Spread the loveBy Bob Bong A Blue Island man was charged last week with attempted murder in the shooting of a Bedford Park police officer in the early morning hours of November 26. Raul Perez, 24, of Blue Island, was charged with one count of attempted first degree murder of a police officer, one count…
Cool Kids see Santa
Spread the love. Several dozen special-needs boys and girls were let in early at the Midway Chamber of Commerce’s annual Snack With Santa, held earlier this month at Mayfield Banquets. The special time was the brainchild of the Midway Cool Kids Club, a social club founded earlier this year by Geno Randazzo of All Exterior…
Palos 118 school board member honored for continued learning
Spread the lovePam Paris, a member of the Palos School District 118 Board of Education, has been recognized by the Illinois Association of School Boards for her participation in a number of professional development and leadership activities during her service as a school board member. IASB recognizes school board members who show a dedication and desire to learn more about local school governance, adding to their leadership skills, knowledge of state and national educational issues, and commitment to serving in trust of their community and their students. Paris acquired 40 credits to earn IASB’s Board Leader Recognition status. Because of Paris’ ongoing…
Nazareth Academy girls’ art on religious Christmas cards
Spread the love. From staff reports . Two local girls are among four students at Nazareth Academy whose works of art are available on the CSJ (Congregation of St. Joseph) Ministry of the Arts website for free download Christmas cards. “These four incredible art students have become part of the tradition honored by the CSJ…
Pekau encourages discussions between residents and officials
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau was philosophical about local and national politics. During the Dec. 4 village board meeting, he relayed a story about some events he recently attended and how he got to know some high-profile politicians in a more relaxed setting, and he encouraged residents of Orland Park…
Openlands grant brings 40 new trees to Justice park
Spread the loveFrom staff reports A total of 40 new trees were recently planted at Commissioners Park in Justice thanks to an Openlands TreePlanters Grant awarded to the Justice Park District. Over 50 people gathered on October 28 to participate in the tree planting event, including community members, volunteers, Openlands staff, Justice Park District staff…
Boys Basketball | Marist unbeaten heading into clash with Marian Catholic
Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Four quarters were not enough time to determine a winner between Marist and St. Laurence in a Chicago Elite Classic matchup. The RedHawks prevailed, doubling up the Vikings in overtime to take home a 49-44 win and improve to 6-0. The game was played December 1 at Credit Union…
Unique, cheerful, local crafts at Hale Park
Spread the love. By Tim Hadac Editor Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound . I’ve never been one to decorate for Christmas, just for the sake of decorating. And I’m not a fan of many of the things we see these days. I’ll take a pass on Christmas decorations that involve images of celebrities, pro sports logos,…
Keeping fighters flying
Spread the love Garfield Ridge native Brandon Tapia recently graduated from U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training with honors – a recognition earned by only the top 10% of each class. After Air Force BMT, airmen begin technical training to learn the technical skills needed to perform in their career field specialties. The field Tapia…
Offer cash reward in Chrysler Village slaying
Spread the love. By Tim Hadac . Someone somewhere knows who shot and killed Misael Sanchez. To help bring that person forward, the Cook County Crime Stoppers group is offering a cash reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the killer’s arrest. Sanchez, 23, was shot in the 5200 block of West 64th…
OLCHS Student Council Thanksgiving Food Drive aids needy
Spread the loveBy Kelly White Donating to those in need during the holiday season are students at Oak Lawn Community High School. The Student Council at the high school, 9400 Southwest Hwy. in Oak Lawn, recently hosted its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. “I like the Student Council Thanksgiving Food Drive because it’s an opportunity to…
Palos 118 students win at 2023 Young Inventor Challenge
Spread the loveFourth-grade students from Palos School District 118 took home three awards at the 2023 Young Inventor Challenge. Students from Palos East and West Elementaries participated in the event on November 4 and 5 in Chicago. The program gives students ages 6 to18 an opportunity to develop and pitch their original inventions to toy and game…
Brookfield VFW helps Navy recruits enjoy Thanksgiving
Spread the loveBy Nuha Abdessalam About 50 recruits undergoing Boot Camp at the Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago had plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. “This has been so challenging,” said Seaman recruit Cazja Andrades. “These nine weeks have been so hard but such a gift.” “Everyone here has been such a…
Off-duty Chicago police officer dies in Oak Lawn crash
Spread the loveBy Bob Bong An off-duty Chicago police officer was killed Sunday morning when a vehicle crashed into a tree at 95th Street and Harlem Avenue in Oak Lawn. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the driver as Edwin Espinoza, 35, of the 5300 block of South Merrimac Avenue on the city’s Southwest…
Palos Park police cadets holiday food drive underway
Spread the loveThe Palos Park Police Cadet program annual Holiday Food Drive is underway. The cadets are looking for donations of non-perishable foods such as canned goods or boxed goods. The cadets will accept donations at the Palos Park Police Department located at 8999 W. 123rd Street. Donations are accepted through January 1. This is…
Midnight Terror serves up a different kind of spirits at Christmas Fear
Spread the loveBy Bob Bong The Halloween fans at Midnight Terror in Oak Lawn have decided to extend the haunted house season into the holidays with their eighth annual Christmas Fear weekend in December. Savage Santas, eerie elves, and sinister snowmen will be running amok and showing off their own kind of Christmas spirit at…