Labor News From Our Region
SIUE faculty union shames chancellor at reception, gets its raises
Edwardsville IL – The SIUE Faculty Association, the faculty union at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, reached a salary agreement with the university after a contentious December that included a confrontation with the chancellor at his holiday reception.
Bargaining on a comprehensive contract will continue. The preliminary contract will provide tenure-track faculty members with two percent raises for each of the current and past fiscal years.
The university had wanted department chairs excluded from the bargaining unit, about 10 percent of the membership, in exchange for the raises, which had already been given to other SIUE employees.
So about 50 union members surrounded Chancellor Randy Pembrook at his holiday reception and chanted “Two plus two” in reference to the raises.
They handed him a framed copy of his July email in which he wrote about how important people are at SIUE and how their sacrifices over four years of budget woes should be rewarded.
The group broke up after about 10 minutes to have punch and cookies.
‘WE FOUND OUR STRENGTH AS A UNION’
“The point was made. It was amazing,” union President Kim Archer told the Labor Tribune. “We smiled at each other and found our strength as a union for the first time.”
The group also delivered protest letters, distributed fliers and buttons on campus and told of college administrators getting large raises.
In response, the university issued the preliminary contract, which includes the raises and leaves the department chairs untouched.
“Everyone at SIUE should have the raise the Board of Trustees promised us,” Archer said. “It is unfair and arguably cruel to make the promise of a raise and then add conditions to it later.”
The preliminary contract also covers grievance procedures, counter offers and administrative and union rights. It will be in effect through the 2017-18 fiscal year.
LEFT TO BE RESOLVED
Contract issues left to be resolved include tenure promotion procedures, workload policies and the faculty’s role in university decision-making.
The SIUE Faculty Association represents about 400 tenured and tenure-track faculty under the Illinois Education Association (IEA), which has about 900 members at SIUE. The Faculty Association was recognized by the university a year ago in December, and is one of about 12 bargaining units on campus.
Pembrook thanked the union and university negotiating teams in a press release.
“This is an important step in the collective bargaining process,” he said. “We look forward to the faculty continuing their high-quality instruction that has lifted SIUE’s national academic reputation and prepared students for career success in a global economy.”