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WIU Faculty Contract Extended

Rich Egger

Faculty members at Western Illinois University won't see a change to their pay for next school year.

The University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100 (UPI) and the administration agreed to a one-year extension of the contract that was set to expire at the end of June. That contract has kept pay level the past few years.

Bill Thompson, President of the local UPI chapter, said it’s fair to give the administration of new WIU President Guiyou Huang time to get up to speed. Dr. Huang started the job less than four months ago.

Thompson said, “We realized that Dr. Huang would not be familiar enough with all the complexity of an organization like WIU by the time negotiations would start.

“It’s to both sides’ advantage to delay the contract negotiations for a year. Dr. Huang will have a much better understanding of WIU’s fiscal position and other issues after a year. And we should have a much better understanding of the (state’s) fiscal certainty after a year - or so we hope.”

Thompson expects contract negotiations to begin in the fall.

He said the union represents more than 600 workers.

Thompson said union members received a 2% pay raise in 2015. But they gave that back a couple years later when Western was struggling with its finances due to what Thompson called then-Governor Bruce Rauner’s “fiscal assault” on WIU and higher education in general.

“We are essentially working at 2014 levels,” Thompson said. “So we’re working on seven years effectively without a raise.”

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.