Strike Day 4: Eastern’s union joins GSU in strike

Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor

EIU-UPI members drove two and a half hours to support Governors State University’s chapter of UPI on their first day of picketing at University Park, Ill. Tuesday morning. (EIU-UPI)

Eastern’s University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, gathered at Morton Park at 8 a.m. to picket alongside Governors State University, GSU.

The bus left around 8:30 a.m. to pick up union members that live in Champaign.

At around 11:45 a.m., the bus arrived at GSU and Eastern’s union members picketed with the GSU’s union members.

They left GSU around 1:30 p.m. and arrived back at Eastern at approximately 4:30 p.m.

There were still union members picketing outside of Old Main from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday

Todd Bruns, a professor and head of scholarly communications, is a member of the EIU-UPI, but is not part of the leadership.

Bruns said there were about 40 of Eastern’s union members that went to GSU and there were about 300 people in total that were present.

“Chicago State University also sent people out there,” Bruns said. “So, we had people from three different institutions that are currently striking.”

Pertaining to all the unions at the universities going on strike and the unity between them, Bruns said it is “off the charts.”

Tatiana Stringer (left), a sophomore health administration major, rings a cowbell and blows an airhorn encouraging drivers to honk in support of the union contract negotiations outside Old Main on their fourth day of picketing for a fair contract Tuesday morning. (Rob Le Cates)

“It’s really really strong because we’re all facing the same challenges and are all facing the challenges of administration’s who are out of touch” Bruns said. “They’re not supporting their students. They’re not investing int their communities or their institutions, or their faculty. Eastern, especially, is really well known for having really good faculty that are very connected to the students and unfortunately, this current administration doesn’t seem to value that.”

Bruns said there were a good amount of students at GSU and some of the students gave interviews to national media that were also there.

Bruns said his main takeaway from the picketing is that with all of the universities going on strike, it is making it a “national issue.”

Bruns posted a picture from the strike with the caption reading, “[University President] David Glassman the country is watching.”

“Now that this is all over the news media, people are wondering ‘Why are three, going on four, institutions striking in Illinois, what is going on?” Bruns said. “So really, the best thing for the administration is to come to the table, finally negotiate this because it’s been over a year.”

Bruns also said he wanted to fix a statement from administration.

“Administration has been walking away from the table,” Bruns said. “Administration has been saying ‘We cannot come back and negotiate until 4 p.m.’ Today for example, Dr. Glassman had stated that [it] was the union that was delaying this. I want to correct the record on that. No it’s not that.”

Juanita Cross, an academic adviser and member of EIU-UPI, gets off the charter bus that the union took to support Governors State University’s UPI union on their first day of picketing Tuesday afternoon. (Rob Le Cates)

Bruns finished with wanting Glassman and Provost Jay Gatrell to be done with everything.

“They’re not that far apart, I don’t think the money and what we’re asking for is very reasonable,” Bruns said. “The money is there, they had [a] 15 million surplus last year, let’s just get it done. Stop hurting Charleston. Stop hurting EIU.”

At GSU, union members from all Chicago State University, Governors State University and Eastern were picketing and rallying amongst each other.

There was another negotiation meeting held Tuesday afternoon.

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

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.


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