BREAKING: EIU-UPI announces rally to file intent to strike Monday

Madelyn Kidd, Editor-in-Chief

FILE PHOTO Eastern’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, will rally and deliver a intent to strike on Monday to University President David Glassman. The union intends to strike starting on April 6. (Rob Le Cates)

Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois will rally and deliver a notice on Monday to strike on April 6 if a deal in the contract negotiations is not reached before then.

The delivery of intent and notice of a strike is planned to be delivered to University President David Glassman’s office on Monday at noon.

EIU-UPI will be rallying with signs and chants before delivering the notice.

97 percent of voting union members, 85% of all union members, voted yes to give the EIU-UPI bargaining team the authority to call for a strike on March 9.

The strike will begin April 6 unless an agreement is reached at the last bargaining session between the union and Eastern’s administration on April 3. 

The last session begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until an agreement is reached or one side walks out. 

Once someone walks out the negotiations are over without a reached agreement for EIU-UPI’s new four-year contract for Unit A and Unit B faculty.

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

If the union strikes, members will cancel their classes, advising appointments, committee meetings and other work responsibilities.

Union members will be a part of picketing, a form of protest in which people congregate outside a place of work or location where an event is taking place, throughout the duration of the strike.

EIU-UPI is holding a “Teach-In” on Tuesday for Eastern students to learn about the status of negotiations and explain how a strike would impact classes and coursework.

Jennifer Stringfellow, EIU-UPI’s president and a special education professor, said administration has made negotiations “difficult.”

“We’ve reached a point with this administration where it’s getting more and more difficult to see a path forward at the table,” Stringfellow said. “Our proposals improve faculty and staff retention and ensure students get better support. We must work together to build a stronger EIU – and that requires an investment in staff and faculty so that we can best serve our students. Administration boasts being ‘all in’ for students, but their actions at the table prove otherwise. We have no choice but to stand together to protect the future of this institution.”

Billy Hung, the lead negotiator for EIU-UPI and a professor of biology, said Eastern has been offering pay cuts in negotiations. 

“For months now, EIU administration has proposed to us an effective pay cut,” Hung said. “And for months, we’ve said that our members will not agree to work more for less. So this filing should not come as a surprise. When staff workloads are so high that students can’t get an appointment with their advisor, we need to find a solution. When faculty are required to increase the number of courses yet have no time to lead research or to offer students reasonable office hours, we need to find a solution. And if the EIU administration doesn’t work with us to come up with these solutions, I’m afraid our members will look for a better job elsewhere. That definitely won’t make EIU stronger, and it won’t help our students.”

EIU-UPI began bargaining for a new contract on March 21, 2022. Union members have been working without a new contract since Aug. 31.

EIU-UPI delivered a grievance to Glassman’s office for not bargaining in good faith in October.

A federal mediator was called in by the union in November after bargaining sessions had reached a “stone-wall.”


Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].