CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — Eastern Illinois University has released a statement confirming that the classes will resume tomorrow, April 14.
Just before 9 p.m. the university released the following statement:
Eastern Illinois University is pleased to inform our students, the campus, and the Charleston community that UPI members will return to their classrooms and offices tomorrow — Friday, April 14, 2023. EIU thanks all parties for their commitment to our students and willingness to collaboratively chart a pathway forward as the University and its UPI partners work together to advance EIU’s mission.Eastern Illinois University
In a news release, the faculty union announced its decision to pause while officially considering the administration’s offer.
“We knew this wouldn’t be easy from the start, and we were right. I am heartened by the unified strength and care that our members showed throughout this process, despite the administration’s various attempts to derail and delay. We know our cause is just, and we stood up, together, for the entire campus to demand that this administration prioritize our students and the educators and staff who teach and support them,” EIU UPI President Jennifer Stringfellow said in the release. “EIU’s administration has demonstrated how they truly feel about the instruction and instructional support at EIU throughout this negotiation process… I have found that I’m no longer surprised when I’m disappointed by the administration of this institution. We would never have been on strike if they had bargained more honestly from the beginning. Now, their refusal to bargain terms to end the strike does not give me much confidence in their respect for our profession of educating students. However, this line in the sand that they have drawn is the reality, and we must accept it. We look forward to being back in our classrooms and offices, teaching and supporting our students.”
Union members say the administration didn’t offer them a chance to do work that was missed during the strike. The absence of that provision is what they say made it a “difficult” choice, adding that the bargaining team could not endorse the administration’s package during the membership meeting. They voted to move toward ratification “knowing that this matter remains to be resolved.” They say the union hopes for a quick resolution so it doesn’t postpone the ratification vote.
“We always act with our students in mind, and we make decisions with transparency and by involving all of our members because we are a democratic organization that is only strengthened by the participation of everyone,” Lead Negotiator Billy Hung said in the release.
Hung added, “I am tremendously proud of our members and so thoroughly grateful to our supportive students and community members. Because of their support we have gained a contract in which working conditions are significantly improved for all our members. The financial offer remains an effective pay cut, but our members knew that we had to consider this package despite the cost to our own financial well-being because we know that improving conditions for our advisors, counselors, and faculty means improving the learning environment for all of our students.”
“We will bring the contract to our members for ratification. We will vote, and we will accept the results,” Stringfellow said in the release. “Because of this process, EIU faculty and staff are unified now more than ever. We will move forward with resolve to continue improving this university for our students and the people who work every day to serve them.”
They say all members will vote to ratify the agreement sometime next week, but a date has not been set.
“I’m proud of our members for fighting for critical supports that students need to thrive at EIU,” UPI President John Miller said in the release. “And make no mistake, we’ll continue that fight to constantly improve our public institutions of higher education. Our students deserve universities that put their learning first, and investing in faculty and staff who serve them every day is a necessary way to do so. I’m glad for our members at EIU who get to return to their classrooms and offices tomorrow and get back to normal. I can only hope our UPI members at other campuses can say the same soon as well.”
This is a developing story.