Graduate Council asks for binding arbitration in negotiations

By Gus Bode

The SIU Graduate Council passed a resolution Thursday asking that the faculty and administration agree to binding arbitration in negotiations to avoid a possible faculty walkout.

Binding arbitration requires both parties to work together to resolve the conflict through a mediator, who then hands down an arrangement that both parties must follow.

“There is little to be gained at this particular time given the budgetary climate of the state while there is a great deal to be lost in terms of negative image, relations with politicians who control the state, and breaking our commitment to the students.” said Zoology Department chair William Muhlach.


Contract negotiations have been ongoing for more than a year, and members of the Faculty Association gave president Morteza Daneshdoost the authority to call a strike on or after Feb. 3, if progress is insufficient.

Randy Hughes, associate professor of mathematics and union member, announced Thursday his intention to call a strike on Feb. 3 if an agreement is not reached.

Graduate Council chair James Tyrell said it is unclear exactly what the strike will mean for the University. He said that while it may bring positive results to the faculty, many forget the harm it could cause elsewhere.

“No one really understands the impact a strike would have because this is uncharted territory,” Tyrrell said. “If it’s a couple of days, then no problem. But if the strike goes longer, it would have a major impact on students, graduate research projects, faculty research projects and the list goes on and on.”

Muhlach said the resolution was a means to give faculty members who were not at the bargaining table a place to voice whether they support a strike. He said the council was not unanimous in its perspective.

“It’s a lot of well-meaning people who have difference of opinion,” he said.

Tyrell said the council does not support either the faculty or administration, but is concerned with the affects of their actions.


“It’s important to make it as clear as possible that we are not taking sides on the issue,” Tyrell said. “Negotiations are a legal process of which we have no direct input. Our concern is that people need to work as hard as possible to avoid a strike.”

Reporter Katie Davis can be reached at [email protected]