Thursday, September 29, 2011

SIU labor unions voting on strike authorization

CARBONDALE, IL (WSIU) - Union members on the SIUC campus began a series of votes aimed at deciding whether or not to authorize a strike

The Association of Civil Service Employees approved a strike authorization Tuesday. The Faculty Association approved a strike on Wednesday. Graduate Students United will decide on Friday and the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association early next week.

Jim Clark is with the Illinois Education Association, which represents the four bargaining units. He calls the authorization vote a "tool in the box" used for negotiation... and says leaders are still hoping to avoid an actual walkout.

"I think, if we've waited this long... I think people can understand we've been driven to this tactical approach. It is not by anybody's choice. We've done everything we can to avoid doing the authorization votes, and that strategy has not worked to get an agreement," Clark said.

SIU President Glenn Poshard says he and other administrators are anxious to reach a negotiated deal. He says he's hopeful a new contract can be ironed out - and soon.

"Obviously, everyone wants this resolved. The Administration certainly wants it resolved, just as do employees of this university. We feel that we've made good faith efforts to resolve this over a period of a long time now," Poshard said.

The four unions have worked without a contract for more than a year now... and say administration terms would undermine tenure and restrict academic freedom. Poshard says that's not true, and asserts the bargaining units aren't willing to acknowledge the serious budget problems facing the university.

Jennifer Fuller, WSIU


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