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City Colleges of Chicago staff set strike date

The union representing clerical and technical staff at the City Colleges of Chicago has announced its plan to strike if no deal is reached on a contract by next week.

The 450 full- and part-time employees represented by the Federation of College Clerical and Technical Personnel — which is affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers — approved a May 1 strike date after working without a collective bargaining agreement for the past three years.

Almost 90 percent of members rejected City Colleges management’s last contract offer, according to a press release from the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

A statement attributed to FCCTP President Delores Withers indicated wages are the most important issue on the table.

“Sixty-six percent of our part-time employees — the majority who are black and brown women — earn less than Chicago’s minimum wage,” Withers is quoted as saying in the statement. “They can’t afford health insurance or even take a sick day because they can’t miss a day of pay. It’s just morally wrong, and we’re not going to take it anymore.”

A City Colleges spokeswoman wrote in a statement: “City Colleges values its clerical and technical employees. We will continue to work with Local 1708 on an agreement that recognizes their contributions and reflects the best interests of City Colleges students.”

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