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College of DuPage faculty vote to authorize strike, plan to rally before packing board of trustees meeting

The College of DuPage Faculty Association (CODFA) voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. On Wednesday, CODFA held an all-day, campus-wide vote and tallied the count in the evening. The vote gives the CODFA bargaining team the authority to call a strike. This afternoon, CODFA members, students, elected officials and community members will hold a rally prior to the College of DuPage Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting. The rallygoers also plan to attend the BOT meeting.

“Despite bargaining for more than seven months, there has not been much progress toward reaching a fair agreement that will help us attract and retain highly qualified faculty and benefit our students,” CODFA President David Goldberg said. “This is about more than finances. The board is proposing we reduce our students’ access to mental health services. We really don’t want to go on strike, but we will do whatever it takes to make sure our students have access to the services they need and a high-quality education.”

To legally go on strike, CODFA would also need to give a 10-day intent to strike notice to the College of DuPage (COD), the regional superintendent and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). At the time of this release, CODFA had not yet filed an intent to strike notice.

The strike authorization vote comes after CODFA and the COD Board of Trustees (BOT) entered federal mediation in mid-July. The two sides have been negotiating since February. CODFA’s current contract expired on May 31, which means full time members are currently working without a contract. CODFA represents approximately 285 full-time COD faculty. COD serves more than 20,000 students and is a designated Developing Hispanic-Serving Institution.

At issue is the board’s proposal to remove 18 part-time counseling positions, which would leave just 10 full-time counselors. The board also proposed adding full-time advising positions, but these positions will not offer mental health services.

“The pandemic may be over, but we are still witnessing its effects on our students. We need to do whatever we can to support our students through every aspect of their lives as they prepare to start their careers, including mental health,” Goldberg said. “It really doesn’t make any sense to do this.”

More than 100 CODFA members plan to wear red and rally at 4:30 this afternoon near the Chaparral statue on the north side of campus. Rallygoers will then head into tonight’s BOT meeting at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Student Services Center, room 2200, on the COD campus (425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn). Several faculty members plan to speak during public comment about why teaching matters.

The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest union. IEA represents Pre K-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

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