Chicago State University faculty goes on strike, other Illinois universities to follow


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

Union members at Chicago State University went on strike Monday. Strikes at Governors State University and Eastern Illinois University are anticipated.

Kate Walter, Assistant City Editor

Chicago State University’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois went on strike Monday after a final attempt to negotiate with administrators concerning pay and workload fell through. 

About 160 faculty and staff members went on strike at CSU following nearly a year of stalled negotiations to secure a new contract with the university. According to the union, the parties have not scheduled further bargaining sessions. 

CSU, a predominantly Black college, and data from the Illinois Board of Higher Education shows its faculty are some of the lowest-compensated public university faculty in the state. A National Education Association report said professors at Chicago State earned $88,000 on average in the 2021-22 academic year — $7,000 less than the state average for public university professors. 

Union members took issue with a recent pay raise for University President Zaldwaynaka Scott given CSU’s claim of financial constraints. 

Valerie Goss, the president of CSU UPI, said in a news release that the union didn’t want to strike but saw no other choice after not making headway with the university over wages and workload issues. 

“How can we expect our outstanding faculty and staff to stay here and work more for less?” Gross said. “Our workloads are so overwhelming that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.”

In early March, 98% of voting faculty members at CSU approved a strike, and union leaders informed the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board of their intent to strike later that month on March 23. 

Faculty at several other Illinois higher education institutions are also expected to strike soon. Unions at Eastern Illinois University and Governors State University have both filed notices of intent to strike. These strikes could begin as soon as April 6 and 7, respectively. 

The strikes come after Illinois voters approved an amendment to the state constitution enshrining a right to collective bargaining. The Workers’ Rights Amendment passed with 58.4% of the vote in the November election, making Illinois one of four states to affirm this right.

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Twitter: @katewalter03

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