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College of DuPage faculty rally after vote to authorize strike

College of DuPage faculty before attending board of trustees meeting.
College of DuPage faculty before attending board of trustees meeting.

As fall classes began at College of DuPage, the faculty union voted to authorize a strike.

On Thursday, dozens of faculty members — along with several elected officials like state senator Karina Villa — rallied on-campus in 100-degree heat to demand a new contract before attending the board of trustees meeting.

David Goldberg teaches social studies at COD and is the president of the College of DuPage Faculty Association.

One of the biggest hurdles in the negotiations is student mental health support. Goldberg says, with the pandemic, they’re seeing more students need mental health services, but that the board of trustees plans to cut back.

“What we are asking for," he said, "is that they do not lay off, as their plans are, 18 adjunct advisors, part-time advisors and counselors who do both. We expect that they should have more resources available to hire more full-time counselors, mental health counselors."

That would leave just 9 full-time counselors for the college’s more than 20,000 students. They’re also fighting a proposal they say would put new advisors on a lower contract status than other faculty.

Compensation is a major issue as well. Goldberg says that, with recent inflation, the board of trustees’ original offer would amount to wage decreases.

The faculty are not on strike yet. They’d have to file a 10-day intent to strike notice with the college board of trustees first. The faculty union president says although they’re not near a deal, a strike is not imminent.

The nearly 300 College of DuPage faculty have been working without a contract since May.

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.