City Colleges faculty, staff union authorizes strike

An overwhelming 92% of 1,208 voting members approved a strike to pressure City Colleges leadership into meeting the union’s contract demands, the union announced Thursday.

SHARE City Colleges faculty, staff union authorizes strike
City Colleges of Chicago faculty and staff picket Thursday outside Harold Washington College.

City Colleges of Chicago faculty and staff picket Thursday outside Harold Washington College.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Faculty and staff at the City Colleges of Chicago have nearly unanimously voted to authorize a strike as their union presses on with contract negotiations centered on pay and improved academic support.

An overwhelming 92% of 1,208 voting members approved a strike to pressure City Colleges leadership into meeting the union’s contract demands, the union announced Thursday.

“They’ve essentially rejected almost all of our proposals except for a few, which has put us into the position of bargaining against ourselves,” said Tony Johnston, president of the Cook County College Teachers Union, which represents City Colleges workers and is affiliated with the Chicago Teachers Union’s parent organization.

City Colleges of Chicago faculty and staff picket Oct. 6, 2022, outside Harold Washington College.

City Colleges of Chicago faculty and staff picket Thursday outside Harold Washington College.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

CCCTU members picketed outside of Harold Washington College in the Loop ahead of the City Colleges of Chicago board meeting.

The workers are asking for pay raises to offset inflation during the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, Johnston said, and other benefits including smaller class sizes, laboratory assistants, broader partnerships with local high schools and the ability in some circumstances to work remotely.

La Voz AARP

Lea este artículo en español en La Voz Chicago, un servicio presentado por AARP Chicago.

La_Voz_Cover_Photo_2.png

Faculty and staff at City Colleges include professors, college advisers, tutors, note-takers, laboratory technicians, IT personnel and more. Their contract expired in July.

"City Colleges is committed to negotiating in good faith with each of our professionals and faculty unions to finalize their respective contracts," City Colleges spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in a statement.

Johnston said the two sides had their first mediation session this week and “things are opening up" more than they have in the past 11 months of negotiations

"There were some counterproposals that went back and forth, and that is a positive thing,” Johnston said. “But our members are insistent that what the City Colleges are offering so far, which is not a lot, is not acceptable.

“We don’t want to strike, and we know students don’t want to see us strike, but we’re willing to strike if we need to.”

Johnston said he believes the union will have public support, including that of elected officials and students, as it fights for its demands.

“I spoke with a student group this week that was very open and willing to hear about our concerns and saw them as their concerns, as well,” he said.

The union’s negotiating committee will set a strike date likely in late October, Johnston said. Until then, the two sides expect to continue negotiating a few times a week.

The Latest
Hashing out the question of whether Buck Perry, the father of modern fishing, would use LiveScope if he was alive today.
The National Weather service said visibility could be sharply reduced in some areas and driving could be hazardous from “slushy snow accumulations.”
Police were called to a store in the 100 block of Roosevelt Road around 4:05 p.m. Thursday and confronted two suspects nearby, in the area of Ann and Lincoln streets, officials said in a statement.
After the man heard criticism of her, girlfriend believes he should have kept it to himself.
‘People want to hear their favorites,’ says longtime singer Mike Love, promising some ‘Good Vibrations’ at the Chicago Theatre along with the ‘Little Saint Nick.’