Macomb, IL – Last night, after 10 months of bargaining, the union representing faculty and academic support professionals at Western Illinois University – WIU University Professionals of Illinois (WIU UPI, IFT Local 4100) – accepted a tentative agreement with the university. Members’ contract expired last month, and the two sides have been meeting at the bargaining table regularly this month to settle a fair contract before students return in August.
"WIU UPI members appreciate the university’s willingness to work with us to reach a fair agreement, and also recognize WIU’s Board of Trustees for their leadership and encouragement in reaching this agreement," said sociology professor and WIU UPI President Patrick McGinty. "WIU UPI is committed to promoting and ensuring exceptional educational experiences for our students, and we believe this agreement helps to realize our vision of what is possible at Western Illinois University."
As part of the agreement, WIU UPI and the university jointly committed to further develop a summer bridge program that provides extra assistance for students who need it most and prepares them for the college experience, with the goal of boosting student retention. This kind of support system is especially important, as WIU is a state university with significant populations of first generation, historically marginalized, and veteran students.
“I’m so proud of the work our members are doing at WIU for their students and their profession,” said John Miller, President of the University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100, of which WIU UPI is a chapter. “When three of our chapters were forced to strike earlier this year for a fair agreement and a better learning environment for their students, we were worried our members at WIU would suffer the same fate. But the progress made at Eastern, Chicago State, and Governors State set a new standard. We still have much work to do in higher education in Illinois to recover from the long history of disinvestment in our state universities, and this will remain a long-term priority of UPI and the IFT.”
Additional details about the agreement will be available once members have a chance to review it and hold a ratification vote. The date for that has not yet been determined.
The Western Illinois University chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois (WIU UPI, IFT Local 4100) represents 435 faculty and academic support professionals at Western Illinois University. They are affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers and American Federation of Teachers.
The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.