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Unprecedented: Faculty and Staff at Three State Universities on Strike

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Tuesday at Noon: Press Conference and Rally GSU on-strike

Picketing: 10am-6pm

Unprecedented: Faculty and Staff at Three State Universities on Strike for a Fair Contract and More Support for Black and Brown Students 

GSU faculty and staff union is third Illinois higher education group to strike this month.


ILLINOIS – On day one of the Governors State University strike, union chapter presidents from Chicago State (CSU), Eastern Illinois (EIU), and Governors State Universities (GSU) will stand together to denounce the university presidents' unwillingness to invest in students, faculty, and staff, despite Governor Pritzker’s commitment to boost funding.

Faculty and staff at GSU will take to the picket lines tomorrow. Their colleagues at EIU were forced to walk out on April 6, and CSU faculty and staff have been on strike since April 3. The employee unions at all three universities have been bargaining with their respective employers for a combined total of 30 months. Their members sacrificed raises for years under Governor Rauner's budget crisis and disinvestment in higher education, some even taking pay cuts to keep the institutions running. Despite that, the unions have encountered stonewalling from all three administrations at the bargaining tables as they work to secure fair contracts that will retain outstanding faculty and staff and better serve students.

University administrations across the state need to reassess their priorities and focus their resources on students – and the people who serve them. Each of the three institutions serve significant numbers of students of color, or students from low-income communities whose success in college depends on adequate supports. 

CSU is the state’s only Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) and one of few nationwide that offers four-year degree programs. Colleges and universities designated as PBIs have low-income and first-generation students as more than 50% of their student body. The administration is refusing to invest in its students by not investing in the faculty and staff who are committed to teaching, guiding, and supporting them. GSU is a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and emerging Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Students there have an increased need for advising assistance, yet GSU advisors are overloaded, some with as many as 500 students. EIU is a rural institution and essential to the vitality of the surrounding community. In addition to serving students in the local area, Black and Brown students make up 30% of the student body. The administration is failing their students by not investing in them or the faculty and staff who strengthen the university.


WHAT: Union presidents, faculty members, and students from Chicago State, Eastern Illinois, and Governors State Universities will call on administrations to bargain seriously and end these strikes.

WHO: In addition to students and rank-and-file members, scheduled speakers include:

  • American Federation of Teachers Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick C. Ingram 

  • Illinois Federation of Teachers Executive Vice President and Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates

  • University Professionals of Illinois President John Miller

  • CSU UPI President Dr. Valerie Goss

  • GSU UPI President Mike Hart 

  • EIU UPI President Jennifer Stringfellow

WHEN: Tuesday, April 11 at 12 PM (noon). Picketing will occur from 10am-6pm.

WHERE: Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park, IL. Rally will take place outside the south entrance of the G Building. Picketing is planned at the intersection of University Parkway (Stuenkel Road) and University Drive before and after the rally.

Live streaming of the rally will be available on the University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100 Facebook page.

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