Faculty and staff at Chicago State University have begun a vote to determine whether they’ll go on strike following months of contract negotiations.
The CSU University Professionals of Illinois announced its membership is taking a strike authorization vote that will last from Wednesday until Friday. If workers do opt for a work stoppage, the union’s bargaining team could then call a strike.
“CSU administration needs to come to the table with a serious offer soon,” union secretary Judy Birgen, an associate professor of sociology, said in a statement. “Accepting the current offer would directly affect the quality of service that we will be able to provide students.”
The main unresolved issues are workload and compensation, as faculty and staff have some of the lowest average salaries among peer institutions, according to the union, which claimed the administration’s latest contract proposal “moves the university in the wrong direction.”
In a statement, CSU said that while it recognizes “the tremendous value that our faculty members bring to the University and their dedication to educating our students,” administration was “disappointed” by the decision to call a strike authorization vote.
“CSU is committed to working together in good faith with our valued faculty to develop a fair contract that both recognizes the dedication of our faculty and ensures that we are able to continue to provide the high quality educational services our students deserve,” the university said.
The union said it’s had 20 bargaining sessions with university administration since last June, some of which have included a federal mediator who joined the meetings last month.
“We don’t take this vote lightly,” union president and lead negotiator Valerie Goss said in a statement. “But we see no other option after such slow progress at the bargaining table. We hope that CSU administration will begin to take this process seriously and work with us to settle a contract that will make CSU stronger for our students.”