GSU faculty, staff working without contract as negotiations continue


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Chris Weber, Phoenix Staff Writer

Faculty and staff at Governors State University (GSU) have been working without a contract since August 15. Members of the GSU chapter of University Professionals of Illinois (GSU-UPI), Local 4100 have been bargaining with GSU since early June.

A press release obtained by The Phoenix explained that on Sept. 8, GSU-UPI members conducted a rally “in support of a fair contract and to highlight the central role they play in providing excellent and accessible education for their students.” The rally preceded a Sept. 9 meeting between GSU-UPI and the GSU administration to discuss changes in the contracts.

“We’re coming together in a show of solidarity as our negotiations team continues to bargain with the university,” said Chapter President Michael Hart, a senior lecturer at GSU. “The faculty and professional staff here understand the institutional, economic, and state budget challenges the university has faced over the last 10 years, and we have sacrificed raises in the past to continue serving our students and keep the doors open.

“The time has come for the university to recognize that sacrifice and honor the faculty and professional staff contributions that have been crucial in formulating this exciting next chapter at GSU.”

On Sept. 14, Professor Christopher Tweddle told The Phoenix: “We have made some progress on non-economic issues, but have yet to exchange any proposals on salary or workload. The union is pushing for 10%/7%/7%/7% annual raises over the 4-year span of the contract. Employees are still recovering from low raises in the past, and the current economic situation has exasperated our stagnant wages. Other issues that we are working on include lowering the advising load to a manageable level for Academic Advisors in the UAAC and more generous Family and Medical Leave (FMLA).”

A counteroffer from the administration was presented to union members at a Sept. 29 meeting. If the counteroffer were accepted, the GSU faculty would see a 2% raise in the first year of the contract, and in the remaining years, salaries would increase by 1.5%. After hearing feedback from colleagues, GSU-UPI announced that a second rally will be held. The next “Rally for Fair Pay’ is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13. in the Lakeside Lounge.

UPI Local 4100, IFT, AFL-CIO includes universities around the state of Illinois. In addition to the GSU chapter, the union consists of faculty, staff, and retirees from five other universities. The “show of support” on Sept 8. was covered by the Chicago Tribune.