Macomb, IL – Faculty and academic support professionals who are members of WIU University Professionals of Illinois (WIU UPI, IFT Local 4100) voted to ratify their new contract this week. Approximately 98% of voting members accepted the agreement, which was tentatively settled in July after 10 months of bargaining.
Patrick McGinty, president of WIU UPI and a sociology professor at Western, praised the agreement, saying, “I’m proud of the work we did to secure a contract that is not only good for our members, but also for our students and the entire WIU community. The proposals within the final contract will result in more support for students and more inclusive opportunities to learn. Investing in our educators by paying a fair wage helps to retain the wonderful faculty members we have and attract even more high-quality professors to teach WIU students, and I’m particularly proud of how this raise will help our academic support professionals, who bring so much value to the student experience yet have struggled the most with stagnant wages in recent years.”
The contract includes raises averaging 10.5% by the end of the three-year agreement and measures that will enhance student access to personalized attention in the classroom, professional mentoring by faculty, and expanded support for undergraduate research or similar professional experiences. Additionally, the university has committed to partnering with the union to develop a summer bridge program that will boost new student retention by providing extra assistance for those who need more support to achieve success in college.
“This contract is a step in the right direction for the WIU community, and I’m thrilled that the university and our WIU UPI team were able to reach an agreement at the bargaining table,” said UPI Local 4100 President John Miller. “Our members at Chicago State, Eastern, and Governors State were forced to the strike lines earlier this year to achieve a fair contract, and those at Northeastern came close. The strides made there and at Western prove that listening to and investing in faculty and staff will have a direct, positive impact on our students. On every campus, UPI members will continue to stand up to support our university students and show that we are fully committed to reversing the decades of disinvestment in higher education.”
University officials will vote on whether to approve the contract at the September 27 Board of Trustees meeting.
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.