CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY TEACHERS ON STRIKE

Chicago State University Chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois (CSU UPI IFT 4100) went on strike on Monday, April 3. PHOTO BY BRENT JONES.
Chicago State University Chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois (CSU UPI IFT 4100) went on strike on Monday, April 3. PHOTO BY BRENT JONES.

 Chicago State University Teachers on Strike

BY TIA CAROL JONES


Chants of “Equity and Justice at CSU” sounded out on the corner
of 95th and King Drive. As trucks passed, they honked their horns in solidarity with the CSU strikers, who were carrying green and white signs and wearing green and white t shirts.


Chicago State University Chapter of the University
Professionals of Illinois (CSU UPI IFT 4100) went on
strike on Monday, April 3rd, during negotiations over a
new labor agreement, workload and compensation.


“I don’t understand how is it that we live here in Chicago,
yet we’re the lowest paid faculty in the state,” said
Dr. Valerie Goss, president of CSU UPI and a CSU alumni,
in a release. “How is it that our pay is less than everyone
else’s? That’s not fair. That’s not equity. That’s why
we’re here today.” Chicago Teachers Union President
Stacy Davis Gates spoke to the strikers. In her speech,
she said that Chicago is on fire for hope and aspiration
for working people and all people in the city.

“It is because of that fire we’re feeling that I am confident
that this courage and this walkout, the boldness
and your demands will penetrate the negotiating table.
I am confident that when people band together and
they draw a line in the sand, because they value labor,
because they value solidarity, because they value the
young people that come before you everyday, that you
will win,” said Davis Gates, who also is Executive Vice
President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

Davis Gates added that a strong showing of solidarity,
speaking with one voice declaratively that the
teachers deserve their dignity and the students deserve
dignity, will move the negotiating table. She encouraged
the strikers to stay strong and ended with, “When we
fight, we win!”

Chicago State University released the following
statement: “On April 1st, Chicago State University leaders
spent another day with the UPI Local 4100 bargaining
committee with hopes to avoid an unnecessary strike
on Monday. During negotiations, CSU has made numerous
concessions and reached an agreement with the
Union on the vast majority of issues with wages being
the one area of significant difference. Today, however,
the parties were not able to reach agreement on a new
contract. The Union’s financial demands far exceed our
current economic position.

CSU again made a proposal for Interest Arbitration.
This proposal would have ensured the continued,
uninterrupted operations and guarantee all students
continue to benefit from the educational opportunities
at CSU. The Union is determined to strike - despite it
being unclear how a strike would produce a better outcome
than continuing good faith negotiations or interest
arbitration.

CSU has intently listened to the Union and carefully
considered each and every one of its requests. We have
achieved agreement on significant issues, including
workload, office hours, parental leave and other points
as they were raised during our bargaining sessions. Yet
the financial realities at the University remain. We recognize
the dedication and needs of our faculty, but must
also ensure that CSU can continue its commitment to
our students, staff and community into the future.

We remain focused on reaching agreement with
the Union. However, we have made the essential plans
necessary to meet our primary duty to our students. If
a strike occurs, we are planning for all student services
to continue and for most, if not all, classes to take place.
We have contingency plans in place to leverage available
instruction resources to minimize the disruption to our
students as much as possible.

CSU has requested additional bargaining sessions
however, the Union has yet to confirm.”

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