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Faculty and staff at Governors State University voted to authorize a strike during a union meeting on Tuesday. They have been working without a contract since fall of 2018.

UNIVERSITY PARK — The union representing faculty and staff at Governors State University has taken the first step in authorizing a strike if they cannot come to terms with the university’s administration on a new contract.

In a news release from Illinois Federation of Teachers, Local 4100 has been in negotiations with the administration since the fall of 2018. They are currently working without a contract.

The IFT has filed an “intent to strike” notice after faculty and staff voted to authorize a strike Tuesday night.

IFT Local 4100 represents about 240 faculty and staff at the university.

“We want to settle this contract professionally, in mediation sessions with the administration,” said Paula McMullen, an academic support professional and bargaining team member. “But the GSU administration has walked away from the table after making an offer that we could not, in good conscience, take to our membership.

“They refuse to recognize our dedication and past sacrifice to keep GSU’s doors open during hard times, so we have no choice but to initiate the strike process. In the meantime, we hope to see the administration back at the bargaining table.”

The main issues are salary and benefits.

According to media reports, the university said the most recent offer is fair and weighs the needs of faculty and staff, the students and the community.

GSU said it is “committed to negotiating a fair contract that both recognizes the hard work and dedication of the university’s faculty and staff and also is fiscally responsible so that we can ensure that we are able to provide the high quality educational services our students deserve.”

According to the IFI release, the faculty and staff have sacrificed their own wages so that GSU could survive the statewide budget impasse that ended in 2017. The union is simply seeking a fair contract that recognizes their members’ past sacrifice and demonstrates their work is valued, the release said.

According to the university, both sides had agreed to rules preventing both sides from publicly disclosing details of the negotiations. 

Governors State University was founded in 1969. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of more than 3,200.

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