Back when it was called Sangamon State University, the Springfield campus had a faculty union.
But since joining the University of Illinois system, professors have been without a bargaining unit. For more than a year, they’ve been trying to get an agreement that would retain the rights they had before.
Now, frustrated by the slow pace of talks, they’ve voted to authorize a strike.
Kristi Barnwell, a history professor, says negotiations have thus far been more about grievance procedures and tenure, than dollars and cents.
“We also have some economic requests, but what we’ve been stalling out on is those non-economic requests that are important to creating stability on this campus for both faculty and students," she said.
Barnwell says the vote doesn’t necessarily mean they will strike.
“We’re still hoping that we don’t have to, and that the university’s administration will make some meaningful progress in negotiations at our next bargaining session," she said. "But we needed to let them know that the option is on the table, and our membership is ready if it comes down to that.”
The administration’s response, however, focuses on money. In an email, spokesperson Derek Schnapp said the union submitted salary and wage requests two days ago, and the request is being reviewed.