While picketing continued outside, Governors State University President Cheryl Green and members of the administration held a virtual town hall meeting Wednesday, April 12, to answer questions and dispute some charges made by striking members of the University Professionals of Illinois.
Green denied the administration team had walked away from the bargaining table days before the strike.
”We did not walk away or refuse to bargain further,” Green said. “Today was the first time our mediator was available since our last meeting. The university was happy to take the next date available to continue mediated negations.”
The administration said that students are expected to continue attending classes and completing assignments unless informed otherwise by department chairs. The administrators stated that they do not expect the strike to impact commencement and that they are working to minimize any disruptions to student life.
Green said that UPI had decided to strike prematurely despite many months of progress being made. She highlighted recent agreements on family medical leave changes in the contract. Green said the university is still waiting for a response from UPI on an offer to adjust advisors’ workloads. This offer, the president said, was proposed in January.
Green also responded to several previously submitted questions from students during the town hall. One student asked if a 1% raise could be seen as fair. The president responded that the university had never offered a 1% raise during negotiations. As the GSU student newspaper reported months ago, a 1.5% increase in salary was offered for the later years of the next contract.
When asked what would be a fair contract for the faculty and staff at GSU, Green refused to comment and said that salary increases are best discussed at the bargaining table.
During the town hall, vice presidents from GSU and Provost Beverly Schneller answered questions ranging from the impact the strike would have on students to funds available for compensating union members. Many questions students or community members might still have could be addressed on the GSU website.
A recording of Wednesday’s virtual town hall is not currently online. The next bargaining session between union representatives and the administration team is taking place April 12.