GLEN ELLYN – Today, the College of DuPage Faculty Association (CODFA) voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. CODFA held an all day, campus wide vote and tallied the count this evening. This is the first strike vote in nearly 25 years for CODFA. The vote gives the CODFA bargaining team the authority to call a strike.
“This vote protects our right to use our collective voice to advocate for our students,” CODFA President Shannon Toler said. “If we choose to go out, it will be the first time in our history that we’ve gone on strike. We don’t want to shut the college down, but we are determined to fight for a COD that thinks strategically and purposefully about student success. We know that when it comes to student success, teaching matters.”
To legally go on strike CODFA would also need to give a 10 day intent to strike notice to the College of DuPage (COD), the regional superintendent and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). At the time of this release, CODFA had not yet filed an intent to strike notice.
The strike-authorization vote comes after CODFA and the COD Board of Trustees (BOT) enter mediation. The two sides have been negotiating since March 2019. CODFA’s current contract expired on August 14, which means full time members are currently working without a contract. CODFA represents 304 full-time COD faculty. COD serves more than 26,000 students and is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution.
“We will continue to work with the board and come to an agreement that put students first,” CODFA President Shannon Toler said. “We are trying to find common ground with the board, but this has been difficult because their proposals aren’t well thought out and seem inconsistent with current college conditions and practice.”
- The board has made bargaining difficult on several occasions both at the bargaining table and beyond:
- On July 30, CODFA requested to enter into mediation with the BOT in hopes of reaching a fair contract as soon as possible. The board delayed entering mediation until CODFA alerted the public about the BOT’s inaction.
- Instead of focusing on reaching a fair agreement and preventing a strike, the BOT made a lucrative offer to adjunct faculty to “fill in” for full-time faculty and posted 143 positions on the COD website, in an apparent move to hire strikebreakers.
- The board insists on cutting summer wages by $5,000 for the majority of full-time faculty.
The board’s proposals do nothing to fix the pay freeze that 40 percent of faculty have had to endure for the past three years, which is on top of increased health insurance costs and increases in cost of living.
- The board is attempting to create an unfair subjective promotion system, which is not based on current research.
- The board’s attempts at evaluation are not based on current research around continuous improvement in college teaching.
The board is also trying to add dozens of additional job duties to faculty job descriptions, including attempting to mandate full-time faculty be responsible for “guaranteeing student self-esteem,” which would be impossible to do and to measure.
Hundreds of CODFA members plan to wear red, line the hallways and pack the BOT meeting on Thurs., Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Student Services Center room 2200 on the COD campus (425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn). CODFA members will line the hallways in a show of solidarity before the meeting begins (5:30 p.m.). Once in open session (likely around 7 p.m.), nearly two dozen faculty members and students, including Toler, plan to speak about why teaching matters. For more information on CODFA and negotiations, please visit this website.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.