Workers endorse no-confidence vote in City Colleges’ administration

Workers say current protections against the coronavirus are inadequate.

SHARE Workers endorse no-confidence vote in City Colleges’ administration
City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado speaks during a press conference at Harold Washington College Tuesday afternoon, July 14, 2020. City Colleges of Chicago announced “Fresh Start,” a debt forgiveness program that will waive half of the student’s debt upon re-enrollment. The other half will be waived upon completion of their program.

Unions representing workers at the City Colleges of Chicago announced Monday that they’ve endorsed a no-confidence vote in Chancellor Juan Salgado’s administration.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Workers at the City Colleges of Chicago have overwhelmingly endorsed a no-confidence vote in the administration, union leaders said Monday.

But the unions, which represent about 2,400 workers at the city’s seven City Colleges, have no timeline for a possible strike vote, saying they will want to see how the administration responds.

Workers said the campuses lack basic protections against the coronavirus, including adequate plexiglass barriers, social distancing markings and masks. Although classes aren’t set to begin until Aug. 24 — and most are being taught online in the fall — some workers recently returned to work, including student advisers. The unions say the work can be done just as well remotely.

“Unfortunately, [Chancellor] Juan Salgado and his administration have determined that we are expendable, as well as students and community members; however, we will continue to fight, to use all tools at our disposal so that our colleges are safe,” said Tony Johnston, president of Cook County College Teachers Union.

About 1,500 workers took part in last week’s vote, with 96 percent endorsing the no-confidence stance, Johnston said.

“This is an unprecedented time, and we share our unions’ concerns for the health and safety of our staff, faculty, students, and community,” said Katheryn Hayes, a spokeswoman for the colleges. “City Colleges’ reopening plan has been reviewed by experts from the Chicago Department of Public Health, and follows the standards and recommendations of the Illinois and Chicago departments of public health, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Our college presidents are committed to ensuring compliance with the plans.”

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