The Faculty Association organized a protest at the annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day to demand higher wages, according to Faculty Association President and Professor of Music Kim Archer.
“We’d like to put a little heat on the chancellor and the administrators and let them know that we need a raise and not a party. They can say this is an appreciation event, but we don’t feel appreciated,” Archer said.
Archer said the 25-month negotiation period was too long for faculty to wait for raises.
“We’ve been working on our first contract with the administration for 25 months, and for 11 of those months, [the university] couldn’t even bother to give us a salary counter-proposal,” Archer said. “Now we have their salary counter-proposal, and it’s ridiculously low. The university has $27 million in a cash savings account, and they’re telling us that at $255,000 per 1-percent raise to the faculty, they’re too poor to give us a raise.”
Archer declined to provide the university’s counter-proposal, citing ongoing negotiations, but said starting faculty at SIUE currently make a salary of $42,000.
According to Vice Chancellor for Administration Rich Walker, the university and the Faculty Association have an agreement to not discuss negotiations with the press. Walker declined to comment on the protests.
“We will honor the agreement that we won’t talk about negotiations in the press, and we continue to meet with [the Faculty Association] regularly. In fact, there’s another meeting scheduled Friday, and we continue to talk,” Walker said.
Archer said the Faculty Association's original contract with the university, signed in March 2017, established ground rules which contained an agreement for either side not to talk to the press. However, according to Archer, a second interim contract was established in December 2017, and these ground rules were no longer in effect, allowing the Faculty Association to make statements to the press from that point on.
Assistant Professor of Mass Communications Undrah Baasanjav said the Faculty Association ended the protest because they delivered their message and Pembrook and Provost Denise Cobb were not at the Appreciation Day while the Faculty Association protesters were there.
The Alestle will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.