Union stands ready to bargain tomorrow or over the weekend to end strike.
No deal was reached during today’s negotiations, as the GSU administration held to the last, best, final offer that they proposed yesterday. The administration turned down the union’s offer to negotiate tomorrow and over the weekend, preferring to wait until Monday to resume talks. Members of the union – GSU University Professionals of Illinois (GSU UPI, IFT Local 4100) – will continue their strike.
Other items on the table were resolved, including productive talks about addressing the advisor workload issues that directly impact students.
“We’re not sure why they want to drag this out,” said GSU UPI President Mike Hart. “We’ve been closing the gap between the two sides. It’s so frustrating to be making progress and then have administration refuse to meet to bring it home. The stall tactics imposed by the university will only make us stronger in our resolve for a fair contract. We stand ready to bargain. They know where to find us.”
The two sides have been bargaining since June 2022, and entered mediation in December. Members took a strike vote in March after little progress was made in sessions with a mediator and began their strike on Tuesday, April 11. GSU UPI is the third higher education union to strike this month, and the fourth may be right behind them, as Northeastern Illinois University faculty and staff voted to authorize a strike earlier today.
Staffing is a big issue at GSU that must be addressed, and retaining the high-quality faculty and staff they have while attracting even more great educators to spend their career there must be a priority for the university. GSU has spent significant amounts of money on new positions in the administration and hands out solid wages and bonuses to the GSU President Cheryl Green, but won’t give that same respect and recognition to the faculty and staff who teach, mentor, advise, and support students every day.
“This pattern of disinvestment in Black and Brown students and their educators could not be more apparent,” said UPI President John Miller. “Universities received more funding from the state, but instead of investing in students and the people who teach and support them, they continue to stonewall. Our faculty and professional staff are the backbone of these institutions. Without them, there is no higher education. It’s time for the university presidents to realize that and give them the fair contracts they deserve so we can end these strikes across the state.”
GSU is a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and emerging Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), with many first-generation and low-income students on campus.
The Governors State University chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois (GSU-UPI, IFT Local 4100) represents about 280 tenured and tenure-track faculty, not-tenure track lecturers, and academic support professionals at Governors State University. They are affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers and American Federation of Teachers.
The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.