Columbia College Staff to Authorize a Strike

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Members of the United Staff of Columbia College (USCC), the union representing Columbia College staff, voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike. The vote comes after three years of negotiations with Columbia College. USCC has been working without a contract since Aug. 31, 2018. “Clearly, we don’t want to go on strike. We’ve spent three long years trying to avoid this. But enough is enough. We are losing talented staff to other colleges. Our students’ futures are at stake. We are willing to do whatever it takes to protect their education,” USCC President Craig Sigele said. Over the years, Columbia College’s administration has made decisions that negatively impact students and the quality of the education being provided at the college, including cutting 331 staff positions between 2015 and 2019. Also, during the nearly 10 years between the 2009-10 and the 2018-19 school years, inflation rose by more than 18.1 percent, but salary increases for Columbia College staff totaled just 11 percent, which equates to a little more than one percent per year. Currently, Columbia College is losing staff to Northwestern, DePaul, Loyola and College of DuPage, where they can receive higher salaries for comparable positions. Also at issue is retroactive pay for the years USCC members have been working without a contract and increasing healthcare costs.

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