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Eastern Illinois University, union reach tentative agreements

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EIU Union

CHARLESTON— Eastern Illinois University and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 981 have reached tentative agreements after more than a year of negotiations.

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The AFSCME Local 981 represents EIU building service and clerical workers. Around 220 total workers were impacted by the agreement, said AFSCME representative for Local 981 Natalie Nagel. The union also represents some individuals working in the food court at EIU, though they were not included in this specific contract.

The union ratified the tentative agreements on Sept. 2. The agreements await the approval of EIU’s board of trustees, which meets at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10,  in the Grand Ballroom of the MLK Jr. Student Union. EIU administrators will recommend approval.

The agreement affirms that no part of any building service or clerical workers' jobs can be subcontracted-out to private companies, said Nagel.

"It's a big win for us," Nagel said. "And it's a big win for the community. Because the community benefits from having good union jobs."

The agreement also includes a moderate pay increase for several workers.

"Given the financial situation of the university, we think we got all that we could get," said Nagel. "And we hope that, if and when that financial situation turns around, Eastern will recognize the important work of our members."


The university expressed its appreciation for the union workers in a statement issued announcing the agreements.

 “AFSCME Local 981 are valuable and vital partners of Eastern Illinois University, and EIU respects and appreciates its AFSCME colleagues for their dedicated and enduring service to the diverse EIU community,” the university said.

"Eastern Illinois University and its AFSCME representatives have met regularly since the summer of 2020 to advance negotiations, each focused on balancing the University’s evolving needs with the desires of its AFSCME union employees. Negotiations remained very collegial over the course of the bargaining period."

Eastern Illinois University AFSCME union protests again for better wages

The union, which has held informational pickets in recent moths, has been pushing the university for pay raises. According to the union, several of its members have been losing money due to stagnant wages, higher costs due to inflation and rising healthcare premiums. 


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