Members of faculty union vote on strike

By Paul Kirk

If you know students enrolled at Western or Eastern Illinois Universities, they may not be attending come Nov. 18.

Members of the faculty union that represent Western, Eastern, Chicago State, Northeastern and Governor State universities completed a vote Tuesday which will decide whether the faculty is prepared to give union authorities the power to call a strike as early as Nov. 18 of this month.

The five universities comprise the Board of Governors higher education system which is the equivalent to NIU’s membership in the Board of Regents.

The faculty within the BOG is represented by a union, University Professionals of Illinois, where as faculty within the BOR do not have such representation.

NIU BOR Chancellor Roderick Groves said he didn’t know how serious to take this strike.

“The word strike is often used as a headline getter. It may be a way to exert pressure by threatening to strike,” Groves said.

“Anytime the word strike is used people listen,” he said.

Groves said he believed the vote was simply an authorization vote to call a strike at anytime.

“A vote on the authorization isn’t a strike, it’s a means of increasing pressure,” he said.

Jamie Riley, administration editor for The Eastern News said that although the outcome of the vote will not be known until Wednesday afternoon, signs indicate the faculty members within the BOG will give their union authorization to strike.

“Their main concerns were lack of health care benefits and pay during the strike. They were also concerned with the Equity Package,” she said.

The Equity Package is a study which showed BOG faculty 15 percent under state and national pay norms.

David Radavich, an Eastern English professor, did an independent study that showed philosophy professors being paid 43 percent under national norms.