Tenured and tenure-track faculty members at Illinois State University have unionized.
This week, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board certified the new union, the United Faculty of Illinois State University. It will represent about 650 faculty members.
In October, the union submitted 386 authorization cards, showing a majority of the employees in support of unionizing. Keith Pluymers, an assistant professor of history at Illinois State, said the organizing campaign has lasted more than two years.
Pluymers said the union is surveying members and heading into bargaining, so he couldn’t share specifics of what the organization will be pushing for, but he mentioned that long-serving faculty members’ salaries have not kept up with inflation, while new hires have sometimes been paid more.
He said tenured and tenure-track faculty members were among the last big groups of employees on campus to unionize. “It was a lot of work, it was a lot of organizing, but at a time when higher education faces a number of threats and problems across the country, the best thing that faculty can do to protect public education” and ensure good working and student learning conditions “is to organize,” Pluymers said.
The union is part of University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100 and is affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors.
In an email Wednesday, a university spokesman said the institution “is aware of this certification and intends to work in good faith with United Faculty of Illinois State University, as we do with each of our collective bargaining units.”