Chicago State University faculty go on strike after failed negotiations

Chicago State University faculty members went on strike Monday. They were out of the classroom, walking the picket line after weekend negotiations failed to produce a labor agreement.

Roughly 170 union members are officially on strike. They said their workload is not equal to compensation, while administrators at the top are well-paid.

The university bills itself as the most affordable public university in Chicago with an 11-to-1 student to faculty ratio. But professors are paid less than their counterparts at other state colleges, such as Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University.

University Professionals of Illinois representative John Miller said many of the faculty live close to the campus and have invested their lives in the success of Chicago State. He said University President Zaldwaynaka L. Scott makes nearly half a million dollars a year and recently received a nearly 12 percent increase, while faculty cannot get a raise to match the cost of living.


Chemistry professor Valerie Goss said it is the first time professors have gone on strike.

"We are all frustrated seriously," Goss said. "We are all disappointed and the fact that we have not been able to come to an agreement is not good for our students." 

Professors said the school does not invest in quality teaching to meet the needs of students, many of whom are first in their families to attend college.

Mya Nash joined the demonstration. She is in her senior year as a chemistry major and said walking the picket line was worth it.

"My next step is to get a PhD in chemistry. I got accepted to the University of Chicago, and I wouldn’t be able to do that if not for my faculty members," Nash said.

The administration said classes will continue under a contingency plan, even while the faculty is on strike.

Chicago State University released the following statement in regards to the strike:

On April 1, Chicago State University leaders spent another day with the UPI Local 4100 bargaining committee with hopes to avoid an unnecessary strike on Monday.

During negotiations, CSU has made numerous concessions and reached agreement with the Union on the vast majority of issues with wages being the one area of significant difference.  Today, however, the parties were not able to reach agreement on a new contract. The Union’s financial demands far exceed our current economic position. CSU again made a proposal for Interest Arbitration. This proposal would have ensured the continued, uninterrupted operations and guarantee all students continue to benefit from the educational opportunities at CSU.  

The Union is determined to strike - despite it being unclear how a strike would produce a better outcome than continuing good faith negotiations or interest arbitration.

CSU has intently listened to the Union and carefully considered each and every one of its requests. We have achieved agreement on significant issues, including workload, office hours, parental leave and other points as they were raised during our bargaining sessions. Yet the financial realities at the University remain. We recognize the dedication and needs of our faculty, but must also ensure that CSU can continue its commitment to our students, staff and community into the future.

We remain focused on reaching agreement with the Union. However, we have made the essential plans necessary to meet our primary duty to our students. If a strike occurs, we are planning for all student services to continue and for most, if not all, classes to take place. We have contingency plans in place to leverage available instruction resources to minimize the disruption to our students as much as possible.

CSU has requested additional bargaining sessions however, the Union has yet to confirm.