Strike Day 3: EIU-UPI reacts to Friday’s negotiation meeting


Madelyn Kidd

A EIU-UPI member blew her whistle lowdly towards Old Main to be heard by administration in their offices.

Madelyn Kidd and Cam'ron Hardy

Eastern’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, continued their strike on Monday for the third day following a “disappointing” bargaining meeting on Friday for EIU-UPI’s negotiation team.

EIU-UPI met at Morton Park at 7:30 a.m. and headed over to Old Main to picket at 8 a.m. to continue the third day of the strike.

Union members that are part of the negotiation team were part of the strike including Betsy Jewell, Melissa Ames and Jon Coleman.

Jewell, the ASP representation for Eastern’s chapter and member of the bargaining team, gave details about how the meeting went.

Jewell said administration was offering an additional $8 to Unit B members. Jewell said the union received the offer at 9:30 a.m. on Friday and by 5 p.m., administration were not going to increase the pay.

“$8 [additionally] a month doesn’t really pay for much,” Jewell said. “So, I didn’t really feel great about that offer.”

Shelley Berry, an associate professor of journalism, leads the march to the picket line of EIU-UPI members. (Madelyn Kidd)

Jewell explained how the $8 is not the actual amount being offered.

“[It] isn’t even really $8 a month because $4, you all have to earn this as loan merit increases, but one of them is $4 a month for every year,” Jewell said. “The other one you only get once every four years.”

Jewell said other union members at the meeting were disappointed.

Regarding non-financial topics, Jewell said both sides did a good job covering those things.

Jewell said she loves all of the community support, and it shows how strong they are, but would rather be in the classrooms teaching.

“Both Dr. Gatrell and Dr. Glassman need to step it up and remember that this institution is going to be here long after this contract, and that the relationship between the incoming president. And this faculty needs to be repaired, and that’s what we’re going to happen if we get a contract soon,” Jewell said.

A member of the negotiation team for EIU-UPI Melissa Ames, leads chants, rallying picketers during the morning shift of the third day of picketing Monday at Old Main. (Rob Le Cates)

Ames, a professor of English, said her and other members were disappointed with the way the meeting went.

“I think we went in hoping that [it would] be resolved, and we’d all be back in our classrooms on Monday,” Ames said. “So, it was a frustration, slow meeting and it did not go the way we wanted.”

Starting Tuesday, Governor State University will begin their strike and Chicago State University has been on strike since April 3.

With that, Ames said the situation is “unprecedented” and “scary.”

“I hope above [administration] that the government and everyone else is taking it seriously,” Ames said. “I think that everyone should want all of the students across the state back in the classrooms because that’s where we want to be.”

Coleman, an instructor of counseling and higher education, said administration did not seem interested in doing much at the meeting on Friday.

Thomas MacMullen, an instructor in the school of business, said his mother works at Governor State and will be striking Tuesday while he strikes at Eastern.

During the strike, the chants included “[University President David] Glassman where are you?” throughout the three days of picketing. However, a new version of “[Provost and next president Jay] Gatrell where are you?” debuted Monday.

Budika, an African Spurred tortoise, was brought outside to the picket line by her owner Cassi Moody-Carpenter, the biological sciences stockroom and building manager, to show support to EIU-UPI amidst their strike. (Madelyn Kidd)

Budika, an African Spurred tortoise, joined the picket line when her owner Cassi Moody-Carpenter, the biological sciences stockroom and building manager, brought her to visit and show support for EIU-UPI.

Budika’s ride, a red wagon, displayed a sign saying “I move faster than EIU admin during UPI strike negotiations.” She also wore a “We need a contract now” button pin on a stick attached to her shell.

Jasmine Yusef, a student senator, participated in the picketing.

Yusef commented on how things the unity allows the union to be stronger.

“Hopefully more numbers mean we can show the administration that we mean business,” Yusef said.

After hearing the news about the union and admin not reaching an agreement, Yusef commented on her personal thoughts.

“I thought it’d be too short for the strike on the last few days, but I was still hopeful,” Yusef said. “The fact that they had reserved the room until like super late and left like in the early evening shows that they weren’t seriously negotiating like they should have been. So I’m hoping that this Tuesday they are all really ready to come up with a fair contract.”

EIU-UPI had their third day of picketing for a fair contract Monday morning at Old Main. (Rob Le Cates)

Hannah Hone, a senior hospitality and tourism major, said she came out to support the teachers and does not think it is fair that EIU-UPI faculty have been working for a new contract for over a year.

Hone joined the picket line both in the morning and afternoon shifts.

Many other students joined the picket line alongside faculty.

During the morning session from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., approximately 130 picketers walked outside Old Main.

In the afternoon from from noon to 3 p.m., around 160 participated.

Union members will meet Tuesday at Morton Park at 9:30 a.m. and begin picketing in front of Old Main at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Thomas MacMullen, an instructor in the school of technology, is assisted in leading chants with several students during the morning shift of the third day of picketing Monday at Old Main. (Cam’ron Hardy)

They will head back to the Morton Park around 2 p.m.

Some union members will join Governors State University in protesting.

Those joining the strike will leave from Morton Park at 8:30 a.m. and arrive for the rally at University Park, Ill. around 11:45 a.m.

They will leave from Governors State University at 1:30 p.m.

The union have been bargaining for a new contract since March 21, 2022 and have been working without a contract since Aug. 31.

EIU-UPI members, faculty, staff, community members and students march the picket line in front of Old Main during strike day three on Monday. (Madelyn Kidd)

The union represents roughly 450 employees on campus.

Union members delivered over 1,000 postcards addressed to the Board of Trustees in Old Main on Feb. 27. Students, faculty and members of the Charleston community signed cards to inform administration about the lack of fair contract offers.

On March 10, 97 percent of voting union members authorized the ability to strike. 

Union members announced their rally to strike March 24. They delivered their intent to strike to University President David Glassman’s office on March 27.

The last negotiation meeting took place April 7 at Elks Lodge.


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