Eastern Illinois University faculty and staff vote to authorize a strike

Old Main at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Old Main at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.(Jason Howell)
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 10:20 AM CDT
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CHARLESTON (WAND-TV) - Faculty and staff at Eastern Illinois University have voted to authorize a strike after a year of bargaining sessions with the university.

Representatives from EIU UPI (IFT Local 4100) said that the results do not guarantee an immediate strike but they do allow the union’s bargaining to call for one if they believe it is necessary.

“This vote sends a clear message to EIU administration that we’re all in,” said EIU UPI President Jennifer Stringfellow. “Our members resoundingly reject what they are offering at the table. We don’t want to strike, but we’re willing to do this to ensure EIU students get the high-quality education they deserve and that our members get a fair contract.”

The university released a statement saying:

“Eastern Illinois University remains dedicated to good faith negotiations with its partner organizations and looks forward to a mutually beneficial outcome that reaffirms the University’s fundamental commitments to student success, opportunity, access, and affordability.”

The union’s lead negotiator, Billy Hung, said the union and the administration have not been able to agree on several issues. “We continue to offer proposals that make EIU stronger. We’re calling on the university to plan for the future and settle an agreement that will boost faculty and staff retention. We are asking for fair compensation that reflects the current economy. We are demanding that our students get the resources and support they need as they recover from a pandemic and prepare for a career. And we need EIU administration to come to the table with a plan to make these demands a reality.”

In November, the union requested the intervention of a federal mediator to assist in the bargaining process.

In addition to faculty and staff, EIU University Professionals of Illinois also represents annually contracted faculty, counselors, advisors, recruiters, and lab coordinators.