CHICAGO — Chicago Teachers Union President and Illinois Federation of Teachers Executive Vice President Stacy Davis Gates issued the following statement in solidarity with striking higher education faculty and staff throughout Illinois. All members of University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100, the professors and support staff of Chicago State University (CSU), Eastern Illinois University (EIU) and Governors State University(GSU) have walked out after nearly a year of bargaining without meaningful results:

“Every day, the hardworking faculty and staff from CSU, EIU and GSU arrive at their college campuses committed to uplifting, empowering and educating their students. While being some of the lowest-paid professionals among similar institutions in Illinois, many educators have remained in service to their students because they believe in the promise of a better tomorrow.

“What these three universities have in common is that they serve a significant number of students of color, students from working families, and first-generation college attendees. Beyond that, all three of these institutions have been at the front end of statewide cutbacks in funding by misguided politicians.

“And while we have seen recent increases in funding for higher education, university presidents now seem unwilling to believe in the promise of their students and unable to make the necessary investments in their institution’s greatest resource–faculty and support staff.

“CSU is Illinois’ only Predominantly Black Institution. It is shameful that such inequity characterizes conditions at an institution where more than 50% of CSU’s student body is made up of low-income and first-generation college students.

“As educators in Chicago’s public schools, we know from our own experience the pain you feel when your caseload is so huge that you don’t have time to address the needs of everyone who needs the attention. Like the nurses, social workers and counselors of the CTU with overwhelming caseloads, some CSU, GSU and EIU school advisors are responsible for guiding more than 500 students — which is an impossible task.

“With more than 30 months of combined bargaining with their respective employers under their belts, these three unions on strike simultaneously clarify what is at stake for working families throughout Illinois and the nation. With skyrocketing inflation, out-of-whack housing prices and an unwillingness of employers to pay working families a living wage, the fight to maintain access to the middle class and the importance of higher education as one tool to achieve that goal couldn’t be more straightforward.

“No educator in this country wants to be outside of their classroom, lecture hall or away from their students; thus, choosing to go out on strike is often the most challenging decision an educator can make.

“Now is the time for University administrations across Illinois to redefine their focus and invest in their students, faculty and support staff. For CSU, EIU and GSU, this is urgently needed to secure equity in higher education, given the significant number of students of color or students from working families whose success in higher education depends on adequate support.

“Inspired by the unprecedented bravery, strength and willingness to sacrifice, struggle, and speak up for the students they serve, we at the Chicago Teachers Union stand united with our union siblings on strike today at CSU, EIU, and GSU.”


CTU President Stacy Davis Gates stands with striking educators at Chicago State University, April 3, 2023

CTU President Stacy Davis Gates walks the picket line with striking educators at Chicago State University, April 3, 2023.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at