City Colleges of Chicago teachers’ union to set strike date
The City Colleges of Chicago faculty and professional staff union is set to set a strike date this week after allowing a walkout earlier this month.
The Cook County Teachers Union plans to notify members Monday night by announcing the strike date internally ahead of a rally scheduled for Thursday, union president Tony Johnston said.
Setting a strike date would be the next step towards a possible walkout of faculty and staff as contract negotiations remain stalled.
The union authorized a strike by a vote of more than 1,000 members on October 6, with 92% voting in favour. The CCCTU has two bargaining teams representing professional staff and faculty. Both groups’ contracts expired in July.
“The authorization was a democratic vote by our members giving the bargaining team permission to call a strike if they feel it’s necessary,” Johnston said.
Negotiations have made progress on some issues, with talks over annual salary increases moving “in the right direction,” Johnston said. “Since our strike authorization vote, there have been better negotiations at the table.”
Asked about contingency plans in the event of a strike, a City Colleges spokesperson said only that the community college network is “committed to negotiating in good faith with each of our professional and faculty unions to finalize their contracts. respectively”.
An ongoing sticking point is the current proposed remote work policy, which Johnston says isn’t broad enough and doesn’t include a grievance process for employees if parts of the contract are breached.
“It’s very rare that there is an agreement that a certain part of the contract would not be covered by the grievance procedure,” Johnston said.
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A violation of a telework policy by the employer could include the administration requiring remote employees to return to work in person, Johnston said. The union advocates the inclusion of this grievance procedure to ensure members have some degree of stability in their working conditions and a formal way to address any changes.
Johnston said the administration took a “take it or leave it” approach to negotiations.
Johnston said the union submitted a notice of intent to strike to colleges and the Illinois Education Labor Relations Council about two weeks ago and is now in mediation. Already, the union has had a mediation session for the faculty, and another will take place on Monday with the professional staff.
There are seven colleges and five satellite sites in the City Colleges of Chicago system, with 3,800 faculty and staff and 54,000 students.
In addition to Thursday’s strike rally, union members are planning information pickets at colleges on Wednesday to talk to students and community members about their demands, which include comprehensive student services to help them. coping with unstable housing and child care.