SIU faculty file intent-to-strike notice

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Southern Illinois University faculty in Carbondale filed a notice Wednesday of an intent-to-strike, the latest salvo in a bitter contract dispute.

The notice filed with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board clears the way to a strike any time after Nov. 10, the end of a mandated cooling-off period, said James Kelly, a union spokesman for the SIU Faculty Association, which is part of the Illinois Education Association and the National Education Association.

The union represents 688 of the school's 1,371 faculty members.

On Tuesday, university officals issued a statement raising for the first time in eight months of contract talks the specter of faculty layoffs if the two sides don't agree soon on salary and benefits in a new contract. The old contract expired June 30.

The administration's latest salary proposal made Tuesday is "consistent with the university's very strong desire to avoid ... faculty layoffs," Worthen Hunsaker, SIU's associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, said in the statement.

Talk of layoffs comes at a time when school officials are touting plans to hire 28 new professors by the start of the fall 2003 semester.

Those two issues aren't contradictory, said university spokeswoman Sue Davis.

The university hiring plan relies on $2 million from next year's tuition revenue. The university already has announced it will raise tuition, pushing the total price tag for tuition and fees to more than $5,500 a year for in-state students taking 30 credit hours of classes.

Talks broke down Tuesday after university officials offered their salary proposal, a five-year plan which included no raise for the current year and unspecified raises each of the following four years tied to future state appropriations.

Staff writer Mark Bliss contributed to this report.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: