Earlier this week, Progress Illinois put together a scorecard on
corporate business movement in Illinois. Unfortunately, this has also been a particularly busy week for school unions and labor unrest in the state.
On Tuesday, workers unions at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale picketed for better health care coverage, while the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) joined in on a rally against “corporate welfare” in downtown Chicago. The next day, CTU also got word that the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) board voted to rescind a 4 percent payraise. And by Thursday, the teacher’s union at Roosevelt University held a vigil for the hundreds of courses the school is cutting.
SIU CARBONDALE - Progress Illinois has previously covered the labor battle at the downstate university. In April, the SIUC Faculty Association, Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association, Graduate Assistants United, and Association of Civil Service Employees all filed a “strike watch” after school officials declared an impasse. By May, all were back at the bargaining table and on Tuesday afternoon, members from all four Illinois Education Association (IEA) unions gathered to picket in support of Graduate Assistants United. The union was in a bargaining session, attempting to negotiate health insurance coverage for the 1,700 graduate student employees on campus, citing a too-high annual maximum out-of-pocket of $1,000, the exclusion of pre-existing conditions, and a lack of options for dental, vision and spousal coverage.
CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS - The CTU was a major force in the “Give It Back Rally” on Tuesday, only to find out on Wednesday that the CPS board voted unanimously to rescind a 4 percent salary increase earmarked for educators in the CTU contract. CTU is fighting back on the decision and has scheduled to begin salary negotiations with the board. Because there is no timeline on when an agreement must be made, the union could choose to re-open the entire contract itself, according to CTU spokeswoman Liz Brown.
ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY - During a Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Association (RAFO) protested a proposed budget plan that would cut 235 courses. The university president announced the cuts in May without negotiating with the union, citing a budget deficit of $7.8 million. RAFO says the cut will affect 22 percent of classes taught by adjunct faulty, and cut 75 teachers from the annual workforce. The board did approve the budget at yesterday's meeting and university spokesman Thomas Karow said he had no comment regarding the action or cut courses.