Faculty Strike Over at Southern Illinois University Carbondale

November 10, 2011

The Faculty Association Strike at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is over.

SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng said the Faculty Association notified the board negotiation team Wednesday evening that they would return to work. Striking faculty members will be back in their classrooms Thursday.

Cheng said there are still some details to be worked out before a tentative agreement can be formally reached. Cheng said once the tentative agreement is prepared it will require ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees and the Faculty Association.

Cheng said she and other leaders are glad things will soon be back to normal.

"And that those who picked up the extra work while the others were out will, I think, happily relinquish that extra load," Cheng said. "So we've got some work to do to get back to normal, but clearly, I'm confident that both groups will come together and work in the best interest of the students, and also help achieve all the ambitious goals we have for this great institution."

Faculty Association spokesman Dave Johnson said it was not an easy process but the Faculty Association has achieved a great deal.

"This offer marks real progress on many of the main issues we've been interested in all along," Johnson said. "Progress made possible not only by the faculty on strike, but through the support shown us by the campus community and above all by our students. We're glad that the strike is over. We're eager to return to the classrooms and work together with our students, our fellow faculty members as well as the administration to make SIUC the best university it can be."

In a written statement the faculty association said the new proposal represents a marked improvement over where the union stood a few days ago before the strike began. It also said the proposal improves shared governance, preserves the tenure system at SIUC, and strengthens transparency and accountability in ways that will help ensure that academic values remain paramount, while allowing the administration adequate flexibility to deal with any future financial crisis. Johnson said the Faculty Association is confident that they will end up with a tentative agreement that the FA members can support.

Cheng nor Johnson would comment on the specifics of the administration's offer that was presented to the Faculty Association early Wednesday evening. Unofficial postings on the Faculty Association's blog site indicate that the administration made some additional concessions related to the impact of a declared financial exigency on faculty contracts. The posting also indicates the faculty association conceded to the administration's request that striking faculty not be paid for the days they were on strike as well as accepting administration terms related to furlough days.

The Faculty Association walkout ended just a few hours shy of it's beginning a week ago. The three other Illinois Education Association affiliated unions on campus reached tentative agreements a week ago and did not go on strike. Prior to the strike last Thursday all four IEA unions had been working without a new agreement since June 2010.

Story source: AP