CHICAGO (WLS) -- Faculty members at Chicago State University walked off the job and onto the picket lines on Monday as negotiations between union and school administration officials broke down Saturday over pay increases.
"How is it that living here, in Chicago, our pay is less? We're the lowest-paid faculty in the state," said University Professionals of Illinois Chapter President Valerie Goss.
UPI Local 4100 members said they've been negotiating for nearly year. And, while progress has been made in other areas, they questioned the university's claims that it can't afford to meet the union's salary demands.
"It frustrates us to now end when we see that this university president was given an almost 12%. My question is, where was the problem with the budget then?" said University Professionals of Illinois President John Miller.
And, while the campus appeared mostly desolate, in a statement released Sunday afternoon, a spokesperson for CSU said most student services and classes would go on.
"We have contingency plans to leverage available instruction resources to minimize the disruption to our students as much as possible," they added.
Some of those students walked the picket lines with teachers on Monday.
"They are so passionate about their work, and they do so much for us. They deserve so much better," said Valerie Viscaina, a sophomore majoring in biology.
The walkout may be a preview of things to come at both Governor's State and Eastern Illinois, where faculty negotiations are also ongoing. Union leaders hinted that walkouts may happen at both between this week and next.
"We're losing faculty and staff across the state, and on this campus alone, we're losing some amazing faculty, because they're going out of state, because they can get paid more by another university. It's ridiculous, and so, it's the same battle," Miller said.
No new negotiations have been scheduled as of yet between faculty at CSU and university officials, who have called, unsuccessfully, for an independent arbitror to resolve the impasse.