EDITORIAL: As strike inches closer, no changes occur

Editorial Staff

EDITOR’S NOTE: This editorial was published in the March 29 print edition prior to the beginning of the strike.

Eastern’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, have been negotiating with the university for a fair contract. Union members have been working without contracts since Aug. 31 and have been negotiations since March 21, 2022.

On March 27, union members held a gathering to present University President David Glassman with a letter of intent to strike.

There were roughly 50 people in support of the event including other news sources.

With the intensity of the matter increasing, publicity has been cumulating. Majority of the people that were present at the event were the union members, but at a previous event more students were present, potentially due to the time that it took place.

On Feb. 27, the union members held another event to present roughly 1000 postcards in support of increasing contract raises to Glassman’s office to be given to the Board of Trustees.

At this event, there were nearly the same amount of people with more students present.

This publicity is not the best and could have negative consequences for Eastern.

The union will have another negotiation meeting on April 3, which starts at 9 a.m. and goes until someone walks out.

If someone walks out of the meeting without a resolution, a strike will begin April 6. Another and final negotiation meeting will happen on April 7 after the first day of the strike.

Union members classes, advising appointments and other work-related responsibilities will be canceled during the strike.

With this type of light on the university, parents and students may stray away from enrolling.

Seeing that administration and teachers cannot reach an agreement and have to stop working makes the university look unprofessional.

When delivering the postcards and a grievance in October, Glassman was not in his office, but he was in his office to be given the letter of intent to strike.

Some of those in attendance were surprised to see him. Regardless, the union members were loud and proud with what they were protesting.

Faculty said that they did not want to protest and go on strike due to it taking away time from the classroom and an example away from the students.

The university has refused to say anything regarding the strike to the media.

This is only going to reflect badly upon Eastern.

Not getting your side of events out to the media and allowing one side to paint the scene only from their side of the fence leaves an unfair advantage for administration.

Students, the media, faculty and more have been ignored by administration, but had questions answered by union representatives.

This will not just reflect badly on Eastern’s community, but Illinois all together. Eastern is not the only public university with UPI negotiations happening in the past year. While some institutions have reached agreements, others move to strike.

Governor State University and Chicago State University UPI chapters have filed their intent to strike both within the first week of April.

For three public universities all possibly having union strikes in the same week is going to draw nation attention- and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

A strike from teachers at an institution claiming to be “all in” for students is bad press alone. If that press is nationally distributed, Eastern’s enrollment of new students, and new faculty, will suffer.

Even current students are, by majority, supportive of UPI members if a strike occurs.

Lucy Ade, the student body president, said while students may be concerned of losing educational moments, they are understanding of the union’s side of the situation.

“The UPI negotiations and possibly strike have been an interesting and honestly confusing time for students,” Ade said. “I have heard from many students that are confused if there is a strike and if so when will it be. I believe a lot of students are also confused and worried about their future if there is a strike, especially those who are on tight schedules to complete their course. in my opinion, the student body is concerned about the possible loss of educational moments, but they are understanding of why the union is taking these actions.”

Ninety-seven percent of voting union members approve of going on strike, many students would support union member if they strike, by 87 percent according to The News’ poll, the media will seemingly lean in the unions favor since its the only side of the situation speaking out- how much more support and approval towards EIU-UPI is Eastern’s administration looking for?


The Editorial Staff can be reached at 581-2812.