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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Amy Excell, IFT Media Director, (630) 200-2077

Diana Vallera, Columbia College Faculty Union (CFAC) President, (773) 398-8694

Delia Pless, CFAC Publicity Chair, (919) 619-7712


Chicago Labor and Faith Groups Join Striking Faculty

to Tell Columbia College, "Union Busting? Not in Chicago!"

Demonstration/Press Conference

TODAY (11/30) at 4:30 PM

CHICAGO – As Columbia College leaders and elite donors gather at an "urban chic" evening gala tonight, striking members of the Columbia Faculty Union (CFAC, IFT/AFT Local 6602) will be joined by a host of prominent labor and faith leaders to send the powerful message that crossing a union picket line to attend an exclusive gathering is unacceptable in a union town. 

WHAT:      "Not in Chicago!" Demonstration/Press Conference at Columbia College Gala
WHO:       Columbia College Faculty Union (CFAC Local 6602, IFT/AFT), prominent Chicago and

                   Illinois labor and faith leaders, students and parents
                   Speakers will include:
                            Bob Reiter, President, Chicago Federation of Labor
                         Dan Montgomery, President, Illinois Federation of Teachers
                         Robert Pawlaszek, Vice President/Commercial Director, SEIU, Local 1
                         Rev. CJ Hawking, Executive Director, Arise Chicago
                         Charles Andrew Gardner, President, SAG-AFTRA Chicago
                         Cyndi Oberle-Dahm, Secretary Treasurer, Illinois Federation of Teachers
                         Tony Johnston, President, Cook County College Teachers Union
                         Aaron Krall, President, UIC United Faculty, Local 6456
                         Diana Vallera, President, CFAC

WHERE:    Columbia College Student Center, 754 S. Wabash


"Chicago is a strong, proud union town," said Diana Vallera, CFAC president and photography professor. "It's disgraceful that the college would encourage our city's business leaders, students, and workers to cross our picket line to hold a black-tie event. As we mark Day 31 of our strike for the educational experience students deserve and basic fairness for our most marginalized faculty who live paycheck to paycheck, Columbia leaders will dress in their designer finest to cross a strike line and attend an elite gala. It's intolerable, and we're uniting with our allies to call them out and say, "Not here – Not in Chicago!"

"Our students, parents, and partners in labor and faith groups in Chicago and across Illinois are incensed by this brazen disregard and disrespect for all union workers and our strike line. It's further proof that this administration is utterly disconnected from its struggling faculty and students.

"While we commend those who are well-intentioned in their support of students, the value of a scholarship to Columbia is dependent on the quality of education the college provides. The focus right now should be on ensuring that every Columbia student gets the small classes, diverse learning opportunities, and experienced professional faculty they were promised. Right now, this administration is not keeping its word to provide those things, and we're fighting to make sure that they do.

"It's long past time for Dr. Kim, Board President Holmes and all Columbia's leaders to get their priorities straight. Instead of wining and dining donors, they should be helping us resolve the outstanding issues at the bargaining table so we can end this strike and get students and adjunct faculty back where they belong - together in our classrooms."

The Columbia College Faculty Union (CFAC, Local 6602) represents 600 part-time faculty at Columbia College - Chicago and is affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees. 


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