More than 150 Western Illinois University faculty, staff, and union supporters picketed in downtown Macomb Thursday. They want a fair contract for Western's chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois.
During mediation, members of the union representing faculty and staff gather in one room and the administration is in another. The federal mediator goes back and forth between them. Much of what's discussed during mediation is confidential.
The Western Illinois University administration and the union representing teachers and staff are headed to mediation after almost a year of contract negotiations. The university's contract with the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) expired over the summer so both sides continue to operate under the old agreement.