Strike Continues Leaving Many Students Without Direction


A rally with faculty, staff and student speakers was held at GSU on April 11.

Chris Weber, Phoenix Staff Writer

Negotiations between the University Professionals of Illinois at GSU (GSU-UPI) and the university’s administration have paused for the weekend, signaling that the strike will last at least a week.

Since faculty and staff launched their work stoppage on Tuesday, Apr 11, students have had a variety of experiences in their classes. Online classes have continued, but for most there are no professors to answer specific questions about lessons, assignments, or final exams.

Students enrolled in classes held in person are expected to continue to attend while professors march with signs at the entrances to the university. Many students have reported that attendance is taken but not accompanied by any instruction. This leaves students wondering “What is the point?”

One of the students who joined the picketers, said they found more value in walking the picket lines with their instructors.

For some students, the strike brings little change at all. Classes taught by adjunct faculty and non-union instructors are expected to continue as usual, and students in those classes reported that they have seen no impact.

The impact of a strike so late in the semester seems increasingly likely to affect student outcomes as it drags on, although in a virtual town hall meeting on April 13, administrators stated that they do not expect the strike to impact commencement and that they are working to minimize any disruptions to student life.

A second consecutive day of negations between GSU-UPI and the administration ended Thursday. Though there are reports of progress, salary increases remain one of the key bargaining issues on the table. According to a press release from the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the administration declined to increase their salary offer before “walking away” from the last meeting.

“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.”

A fourth university may be following the lead of three UPI schools seeking fair contracts. According to a press release, North Eastern Illinois University (NEIU), voted on Thursday to authorize a strike.

“NEIU faculty and staff are the latest statewide university to inch closer to walking the picket lines,” the release said. “Faculty and staff at Governors State University (GSU) went on strike on April 11 after the administration walked away from the table last week. Their colleagues at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) were forced to walk out on April 6, and Chicago State University (CSU) faculty and staff have been on strike since April 3.”

The next bargaining session between GSU-UPI and the administration is scheduled for Monday, April 17.