EIU-UPI protests for new contracts


Rob Le Cates

EIU University Professionals of Illinois President Jennifer Stringfellow takes the lead as she delivers, according to the Union, around 1000 signed postcards in support of increasing contract raises to University President David Glassman’s office Monday afternoon, Feb. 27, 2023, on Eastern’s campus in Charleston, Ill.

Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor

Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois (EIU-UPI) held a protest at 3 p.m. in Old Main inn regards to their contract.

The Union represents roughly 450 employees on campus including professors, academic advisors, annually contracted faculty, the tenured and tenure-track faculty and academic support professionals.

Roughly 40 people were in attendance to support the faculty.

A crowd of around 40 people, students, and faculty showed up in support of the EIU’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois at Old Main. (Rob Le Cates)

EIU-UPI has been negotiating since March 21, 2022, which will make one year of negotiations next month.

There was a card campaign to support the protest.

With this, students, members of the Charleston community signed cards to inform the Board of Trustees and administration to know about their contract.

Jennifer Stringfellow is an associate professor in special education as well as the EIU-UPI chapter president. She also led the protest.

EIU University Professionals of Illinois President Jennifer Stringfellow hand-delivered signed postcards in support of increasing contract raises to Judy Gorrell, the executive secretary to University President David Glassman. (Rob Le Cates)

She said that the support from the community is “wonderful.”

“You can forget that there are really good people who are very supportive of Eastern,” Stringfellow said. “Eastern is such a major employer in this area and its really nice to know that people still really do feel very good about Eastern and a large part of that is the faculty and their experience or their students’ experience here.”

She went more in depth about some of the things that need to be met for faculty members.

“Labor isn’t just an expense, it represents people, so we’ve really been trying to push that a lot to let [the Board of Trustees and administration] know that we have support not just amongst our faculty, but amongst our students and the surrounding community,” Stringfellow said.

According to the EIU chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois, around 1000 signed postcards in support of raise increases for faculty salaries. (Rob Le Cates)

Hours before the event, protesters received news that some of the big changes they were hoping for would not be changed by the Board of Trustees, Stringfellow said.

“Today we just learned that they had not budged any further and so we are too far apart,” Stringfellow said. “They’re not giving any kind of increase that we could really legitimately accept and so we will be taking a strike [vote] next week as well.”

On March 8 and 9, there will be a vote on the strike.

Toward the end of the protest, those in attendance went to President Glassman’s office to talk, but he was not there.

Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].