SIU’s lawsuit appeal deadline Thursday

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SIU’s lawsuit appeal deadline Thursday

By Luke Nozicka, @LukeNozicka

The university has until Thursday to appeal an Illinois Education Association’s unfair labor practice lawsuit against SIU’s former administration.

If it does not appeal, SIU would have to pay nearly $1.9 million to about 2,000 current and former employees.

According to the ruling, the administration at the time–President Glenn Poshard and Chancellor Rita Cheng–acted unfairly in contract negotiations, resulting in a six-day strike and four furlough days in 2011.

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President Randy Dunn met with the SIU Board of Trustees executive committee–Chairman Randal Thomas, Vice-Chairwoman Donna Manering and Secretary Don Lowery–in Edwardsville for a special meeting to discuss the situation.

“No action from the meeting today,” Dunn wrote in a text message Wednesday. “Announcement anticipated [Thursday] to be released by campus through Rae [Goldsmith, the university’s spokeswoman.]”

In an email obtained by the DAILY EGYPTIAN, IEA Uniserv Director Bret Seferian updated union members on the situation.

In an email to _______, ________ explains the lawsuit situation.

In August, Poshard said the university was facing a severe fiscal crisis at the time and relied on Cheng’s assessment of the situation.

“She felt like she had a good handle on the finances on campus there at the time and it was something we needed to do,” said Poshard, who retired in April. “ACsE had every right to protest that and to put their case before the court, and apparently that’s what they did and they won and the university will have to pay them for that time they forfeited.”

Seferian said negotiating with Dunn’s administration is much better because it actually tries to bargain with faculty.

“It’s like night and day,” he said. “The attitude of the administration has changed a great deal. … The current administration gets it.”

Jim Wall, president of the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association, which represents more than 600 employees at the university, said furloughing teachers hurts the university as a whole, not just employees.

“Imagine an undergraduate or graduate student going to class one day only to find out their professor has been furloughed and they have a sub for four days,” Wall said in an August interview. “It’s not just about us and our pocket books, it is also about the students.”

This story will be updated as information becomes available. Sarah Gardner contributed to this report.

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