Education, Local News

GSU administration, faculty finalize new 3-year contract

After months of negotiations, unionized faculty and staff at Governors State University have a new three-year contract, but not without a bit of acrimony.

Members of the University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100, GSU Chapter voted to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement for the years 2022-2025. The union members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new contract; 97% of the members approved the contract.

The contract was approved at a special meeting of the GSU Board of Trustees on Friday, April 28. Members from GSU-UPI attended the meeting to voice their dissent to the board. They accused President Cheryl Green of retaliation against them, and several told the board that they have “no confidence” in the administrator. 

“Our new contract is a step in the right direction for our members, GSU students, and the future of this institution,” said Mike Hart, President of GSU-UPI. “Because of our solidarity and the support we received from our students, we were able to sustain a five-day strike to achieve a fair contract that invests in the people who teach and support GSU students every day.”

The new contract includes a salary increase of 4% the academic year 2022-23  and a $2,000 signing bonus. The faculty and staff will get a 2.5% increase in the second year and an additional $1,000 increase in base pay. Another 2.5% raise will come in the third year plus $1,000 to the base, with an additional 1% if there is a $2.5 million increase in state appropriations.

The contract includes changes to parental leave and extends the time off for a birth, adoption, or a new foster child to 25 days. The union bargainers also won increases for lecturer and advisor overload pay, workload provisions, and other changes. The new agreement also clarifies grievance procedures, creates a separate Sanctions and Termination Committee for Unit B (non-tenure track) members, and reaffirms faculty member ownership of course materials.

GSU faculty and staff worked this academic year without a contract after their previous agreement expired Aug. 15, 2022.

The union voted to walk out on April 11 and returned to classrooms after a tentative agreement was reached on Monday, April 17. While classes were never officially canceled, students have returned to instruction and classes should conclude for the semester without further disruptions; the term ends May 8.

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