Full-Time Faculty Strike at City Colleges of Chicago

Item 1

The Credit Teachers' (AFT 1600) Strike at City Colleges of Chicago and Us: Facts and Options

Earl Silbar, adult educator, Truman College

What's at stake in this strike? Contrary to CCC's propaganda, Local 1600 actually has many good demands they're out for. Still, it's not just 1600 members' future when the CCC corporate wolf huffs and
puffs on our neighbor's home. We may not love or even like them, but when our neighbor's under attack, does it pay to close our eyes and do nothing?

CCC's administration wants to force Local 1600, the strongest union with the best contract: to continue teaching 6 hours of clinical classes/wk for free, to accept $7-$11.50 hr. for tutors with Bachelors' degrees,
for most credit teachers to teach a class/semester for free, for most members to take net pay cuts, and to accept unfair practices.

Adult educators and coordinators already do much work for free. We and clericals and pt faculty know what it's like to be underpaid and overworked. This is about our common future, regardless of how we might feel about them and their union. If we do nothing to help them, our turn will come, and soon. Remember: all our contracts come up within 21 months.

CCC wants to force over 250 credit teachers to teach at least one additional class for free. Yes, they make a lot of money, but consider, how you would like CCC to force you to do still more without getting
paid? CCC offers a raise of only $0.25/hr to tutors, with Bachelor's degrees. They currently make from $7-$11.50 per hour. That was our pay range when we started our union back in '87 after CCC went 5 years without giving us a raise. CCC refuses to pay nursing instructors for 6 of the 12 hours they teach clinical class every week. That's worse than us teaching for $1.03/hr in prep pay.

Many of us have long-standing a burning resentments of mistreatment by 1600 members and by their union. Still, in this fight, we're forced to take sides. Even doing nothing affects the balance- it allows CCC to get away with their intimidation, lies, and distortions. CCC wants to isolate and defeat the strikers. CCC's trying to intimidate all possible allies. We've all received threatening letters from President Boyd AFTER she stated that she'd make noreprisals for supporting them. She personally threatened to have me
arrested last Wed. morning if I even came into the building when I took the day off and had been on the picket line. She just made it up; we can all come in as employees on days we're off work. Many adult
educators come in on Fridays, for example, when we're not being paid to get our checks. Her threat shows how seriously CCC managers take this. They're going all out to beat 1600 members. We're next on their hit list; make no mistake. Corporate governance is here. The battle is on.

Students have received false statements that they must go to class; some have been told that they'll be failed if they don't. Clerical workers have been warned by their supervisors not to take off any days during the strike. Part-time credit teachers have been called and given written warnings likewise or face loss of their jobs. Fear tactics don't have to win. We can overcome them and build a unity that can help us all.

What can we do without endangering our jobs?

  1. Inform our students of the issues. Let them know about the student rally planned for this THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28TH. The bus will leave Truman at 10 AM. Students know right from wrong. It's our legal, moral, and political right to give them accurate information.
  2. We can and should join the picket lines with signs identifying us as adult educators/ coordinators/ clericals, etc. outside our normal working hours. This will encourage the strikers: . Visible support shows strikers that they're not alone. Doing this will build bridges for us later. When we're out there, we can discuss our own experiences with them and their union. This can be a 'teaching moment' where we all can help educate them as to our treatment at their hands and the need for them to change. Some of the strikers want to help change all this. We can come back and discuss our experiences on the line with our co-workers. Wouldn't it be great to help them change 1600 and turn it into a good thing for us all? After all, their numbers are down; they're looking at a bleak, lonely road without all our unity.

And it's not just them needing us, is it? None of us will be too strong when CCC comes knocking on our door, telling us we need to accept our cuts. Remember the wolf and the three little pigs? We can't afford to
build of straw now. We need bricks. Solidarity is the mortar that can hold those bricks together.

What if you want to honor their picket lines and not cross?

AFSCME 3506 and AFSCME Council 31 will defend adult educators, but cannot guarantee success. Our contract and that of the clerical and pt credit faculty all have a 'no strike' clause that says that says "the
Union shall not cause and sanction any work stoppage, strike or slowdown. Employees who violate this shall be subject to disciplinary action."

On the other hand, AFT Local 1600 has a clause that says "there shall be no repercussions against anyone- students, clericals, or any other personnel for supporting their strike." They pledge to protect anyone who supports them. Many of these issues have no legal precedents; thus, we cannot guarantee the outcome.

Doing nothing is taking sides; it allows CCC to successfully isolate them. WE can help shape our future now. Don't sit back and expect others to do it; everyone can wear a solidarity button on our jobs, most can inform students, and we can all go out there and walk and talk with them on off hours, at the very least.

Sent as email and forwarded by Joe Berry, October 31, 2004

Back to top

Item 2

Note on the Settlement (E-mail from Joe Berry, November 8, 2004)


Here is news of the settlement of the Local 1600 CCC strike.

Note that 1600 does not represent contingent faculty, either credit or non-credit, who are in IEA/NEA and AFSCME respectively, and had no strike contracts that were not expired. In spite of this, many of them, and you on this list, walked picket with 1600 and some stayed out at their peril. See Sun Times of Sunday, 11/7/04 for a article on the situation of contingent faculty in the strike. One might hope that the solidarity forged can be continued into the future with greater cooperation between all CCC unions as , assuredly, the assaults from the City and CCC administration will continue, especially if funding cuts go through under Bush II.

In sol,

Joe Berry, Chair Chicago COCAL

City Colleges teachers approve new contract

"Striking teachers at City Colleges overwhelmingly approved a new contract Sunday, ensuring that classes will resume today for the system's 60,000 students.

"Highlights of the City Colleges of Chicago union faculty contract: An unchanged workload. A 4 percent a year pay raise, compounding to a 17 percent raise over four years. A near doubling of teachers' insurance payments. A change to counting class size at midterm instead of at the beginning of a semester. An eased workload for nursing instructors, who were receiving four hours of credit for teaching eight hours in hospitals."

Back to top

Item 3

Petition Regarding Retaliation Against Strike Supporters

Fyi, another adult ed teacher and I have been brought up on charges for supporting the strike. All assistance is appreciated. attached you'll find the petition we're circulating. Letters of support may be sent to: wwatson@ccc.edu with a copy to me and thanks for any efforts you care to make.

in solidarity,

Earl Silbar

Petition (PDF)

Back to top

Item 4


(Written at a meeting at the office of the Chancellor of the City
Colleges of Chicago, involving the Chancellor, disgruntled
(and displaced) adjunct faculty members and union representatives)

This is such a farce.
Wonder what I'm doing here.
What can come of this?

This is such a joke.
What a way to waste my time.
I could be at home.

Rules are everything--
Teachers, students do not count.
This is so unreal.

Push the envelope--
Not for this, the win's too small.
Go for what I want!

I am through with this.
Nothing here is worth my time.
I have more to do.

---Sharon F. Warner

Back to top

Item 5

Rally in Support of City College Employees Facing Reprisals, November 18, 2004

This email from Joe Berry to the COCAL list on November 17, 2004 included the items following.  Also, follow the link at the bottom of this section to get a PDF of the flyer for the rally.

Please note the three attachments with this update. Students and faculty who supported the strike of Local 1600 at Chicago City Colleges are facing serious reprisals for their actions. A rally will take place Thurs. Nov. 18 at 4:30 PM at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson (Red Line stop), to protest the reprisals. The disciplinary hearings of two adult educators who supported the strike (Ron Johnson and Earl Silbar) will be going on then. Rally is supported by Local 1600.

In solidarity,

Joe Berry, Chair, Chicago COCAL

Press Release

The Chicago City College administration fired, replaced or has brought disciplinary charges against eleven adjunct teachers and adult educators who supported the faculty and professional strike of the Cook County College Teachers Union (Local 1600) from October 19 to November 7, 2004. These actions fly in the face of public statements by Chancellor Wayne Watson that there would be no reprisals after the strike. Moreover, they violate the "no reprisals" clause in the faculty and professional contract which protects any employee or student who supported the strike. This is the first time in 40 years and 7 strikes that there have been reprisals after a City College strike.

There will be a rally of City College students, faculty and staff in support of these employees on Thursday, November 18 at 4:30pm at Harry S Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson. Adjuncts, students and full-time employees will give testimony of intimidation and reprisals.

For information contact Perry Buckley (312) 755-9400, pbuckley@ccctu.com or Anthony Johnston (773) 387-4031, tonyjohnston86@hotmail.com.

The CCC administration has upped reprisals against students and teachers in the wake of our fight during the three week strike of Local 1600. Action is needed from people immediately to prevent a victory for rank and file teachers and students from turning into bitter anger throughout the student body and CCC faculty. The reason for these reprisals is pay back for an administration that feels they lost the strike!

On Thursday at Truman College there will be a Rally Against Reprisals. Everyone needs to get the word out about this rally at their respective colleges. A flyer called "reprisals.doc" has been added to this email. Please download one, make as many copies for your students or class mates, and get these flyers out! We need as many people as possible who supported the strike and were affected by the strike at Truman on Thursday, including all of you paying the price for your solidarity. The timing of the Rally will coincide with the disciplinary hearings of two Truman adult educators, Earl Silbar and Ron Johnson.

In addition to the direct reprisals, there is also going to be a nursing fee hike of $900/year. Chicago City College administration is blaming this on the pay increases of striking nursing teachers. "Nursing student fees have been raised as a result of the increase in pay for nursing clinical teachers", was the quote today from Angela Starks, CCC Executive Director -Nursing Department. This is taking place immediately after the administration wrote themselves a 3% raise!

There is much at stake in our work for the next year. If teachers and students look back on the strike as fighting back the most horrible of administration demands through mobilization, solidarity and direct action, then greater teacher/student power will be built for all of our other issues in the future (Contract negotiations, tuition hikes, free speech on campus). These schools are not the private property of City Hall and the administration. They are the property of the people and are now increasingly under attack. For the sake of cross-union strength, student moral and the future of these public institutions, we need to stand up to the reprisals against striking teachers and all of their supporters.

Please let us know what you are doing on your campus to build for Thursday. Also let us know of any reprisals going on in your campus. Lets keep people in touch and in power over the next year. Thanks for the effort.

Cliff Willmeng
Truman Solidarity Committee
(773) 968-7797

Rally Flyer (PDF)

Back to top

Item 6

Caroling for Justice (opposing CCC 's retribution against strike supporting adjuncts and others)

Introductory note from Joe Berry's email of Dec. 18, followed by note from City Colleges' Solidarity Committee


Please specially note the request for action Wednesday in support of those suffering retribution for actions during the strike in Chicago City Colleges. Let me add that it appears that CCC administration is trying to replace 160 or so adjuncts on their new "Blacklist" for next semester (for respecting the picket lines) by seeking recruitment help from the administration of other area colleges, (i.e.. Roosevelt University and likely others). This action is being opposed by both the Roosevelt Faculty Senate and by Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization, the adjunct union there. All on this list should pressure their own administrations to not cooperate in any way with CCC in their attempt to hire replacement faculty. CCC's signed, with AFT Local 1600,  a contract that included a "no reprisals" clause  settling the strike  and now CCC administration is trying to do an end around it by not firing people THIS semester, but then blacklisting them for future work. Many of the Blacklistees are in their first 2 semesters in CCC's and so do not have the protection of the CCCLOC adjunct contract, though both CCCLOC and AFT 1600 are trying to help in their defense.

Actions needed are : 1. Go the the Wednesday demonstration (details below). 2. Urge your administration to not cooperate in this Blacklist and replacement of adjuncts in CCC's.

Join us: 

"Caroling for Justice" at Mesirow Finance, 350 N. Clark,  11 AM, Wednesday, Dec. 22nd

CCC Board Chairman James Tyree Is Mesirow's CEO and controls $Billion$, some in City of Chicago dealings. You get it; he's 'connected'- 'part of the problem'. Now, CCC has upped its attack on the workforce and students.   Everything they're doing violates their agreement to "No Reprisals".

  1. CCC has set up a blacklist of all part-time credit teachers who stayed out to respect the strikers' picket lines. This means something like 100 teachers will be denied any further employment at CCC no matter how long or how well they've taught. This is a pure reprisal, meant to punish them and intimidate the rest of us.
  2. CCC has approved punishments against Adult Educators Ron Johnson and Earl  Silbar for also staying out and urging support for the strikers.
  3. CCC has put one student, Felipe Findley, on probation and threatens to kick him out of school for effectively supporting the strike. His hearing will be this Friday at Malcolm X College at 2 PM this Friday.
  4. CCC has announced plans to make Nursing students pay an additional $2,700 in new fees, supposedly to 'pay for' the 6 hours per week their instructors won in the contract settlement from the strike.

Issued per last night's meeting of  City  Colleges' Solidarity Committee:

Here's the flyer for the "Caroling for Justice" event:  PDF

Back to top

Last revised on January 05, 2005 by the Webmaster.