EIU-UPI negotiations progress, potential strike in the air


Luke Taylor

Eastern’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois members and students wrote on signs before the negotiation team’s bargaining meeting with administration at the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Monday morning.

Madelyn Kidd, Editor-in-Chief

Eastern’s administration increased their proposal offer for across the board raises in a contract bargaining session with Eastern’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, three days before the union could strike.

EIU-UPI’s bargaining team met with the administrative team on Monday from 9 a.m. and finished at 5 p.m. 

In an email sent to EIU-UPI members, the bargaining team updated members on the changed administrative proposal to increase across the board, ATB, salaries to:

  • FY23: 3.75%
  • FY24: 3 percent
  • FY25: 3 percent
  • FY26: 2.25%

However, there has not been any movement on the workload issues after Monday’s meeting.

Billy Hung, EIU-UPI’s lead negotiator and a biology professor, said some progress has been made.

“There are significant movements from both sides on the financial issues,” Hung said. “[Administration and EIU-UPI] are still not in agreement with some of the workload issues.”

While the union has the ability to begin a strike on Thursday, Tuesday’s union membership meeting will determine if the strike begins on Thursday, is delayed, or if the two negotiation teams reach an agreement and a strike does not occur.

The EIU-UPI membership meeting is at 4:30 p.m. in the Charleston/Mattoon Room in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Union members will discuss which route they would want to take concerning the strike and where they currently stand in negotiations.

If a strike will begin Thursday, the earliest the Eastern community will learn about it is on Wednesday or Tuesday night.

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 have been bargaining for a new faculty contract since March 21, 2022. They have been working without a 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.”

The union delivered an intent to strike on March 27 to Glassman’s office allowing them to strike as early as Thursday.

Eastern is not the only university with a teacher strike on the horizon. 

Chicago State University’s chapter of UPI began their union strike on Monday after bargaining for nearly a year. 

On day one of striking, Chicago State began picketing at 9:30 a.m. and held a press conference at noon.

For day two on Tuesday, they began picketing again at 9:30 a.m. and rallied at noon.

Governor State University UPI have filed their intent to strike if an agreement is not reached as well. They can strike as early as April 7.


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