Photo caption: CTU President Stacy Davis Gates stands with striking educators at Chicago State University, April 3, 2023
Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates issued the following statement in solidarity with striking faculty and staff at Chicago State University, who walked out today after nearly a year of bargaining without results:
“Inspired by their bravery, strength and willingness to sacrifice, struggle, and speak out on behalf of the students they serve, we at the Chicago Teachers Union stand united with our union siblings on strike today at Chicago State University.
CSU faculty and staff are the lowest-paid professionals among similar institutions in Illinois. It is shameful that such inequity characterizes conditions at Illinois’ only Predominantly Black Institution. No educator in this country wants to be outside of their classroom, lecture hall or away from their students; thus, choosing to go out on strike is often the most challenging decision an educator can make.
“More than 50% of CSU’s student body is made up of low-income and first-generation college students, which means they need more — not fewer — resources. CSU faculty and staff are committed to their students, but the administration hasn’t committed to paying them what they deserve, which is why they’ve taken matters into their own hands.
“As educators in Chicago’s public schools, we know from our own experience the pain you feel when your caseload is so huge that you don’t have time to address the needs of everyone who needs the attention. Like the nurses, social workers and counselors of the CTU with overwhelming caseloads, some CSU school advisors are responsible for providing guidance to more than 500 students — which is an impossible task.
“We know the resources exist to give these students the support they deserve. The unwillingness of the administration to provide relief at the bargaining table has now sparked righteous collective action by these workers. In the words of the great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass: Without struggle, there is no progress.”
The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in schools funded by City of Chicago School District 299, and by extension, over 350,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information, please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.