Labor Negotiations Remain Stagnant Despite Mediation


As February comes to an end, faculty and staff in the union at Governors State University continue to work without a contract.

A federal mediator was brought into the meetings last month, and progress has been made, but an agreement has yet to be reached by the GSU administration and union employees. The role of the mediator is to help the parties reach an agreement. The major concerns in contracts meant to replace those that expired last summer pertain to economics and parental leave.

GSU-UPI members are standing their ground as they request increases in compensation that equal the recent rises in the cost of living expenses. They argue that the salary at GSU is among the lowest for university employees across the state. This fact, paired with a recent spike in inflation, makes it difficult for the university to retain and hire qualified talent.

The union members say that students are their main concern as they take a straw poll to determine if members are ready to strike.

“Members do not want to do anything that is going to harm their students,” said Union President and GSU Professor Michael Hart. “Because of inflation and rising costs, what we are being offered isn’t really enough.”

Most of the details of the bargaining sessions are not currently accessible to the public. As part of the new procedures, the mediator is facilitating communication between the parties. To avoid charges of negotiating outside of the contract, both parties are bound to limit their speech. All that is known is that the conversations continue.

Some GSU-UPI members have wondered how they can serve the community to the best of their abilities if they are forced to take on second jobs to keep bills paid.

The next negotiating session is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 27.