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Weeklong Faculty Strike Ends At SIU

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Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Credit: SIU/CBS St. Louis)

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CARBONDALE, Ill. (CBS) — The weeklong strike by faculty at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is over.

As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng and the SIU Carbondale Faculty Association have announced the end of the strike, which began Nov. 3.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

But their agreement ends there. Cheng says the two sides have reached a tentative agreement, but the faculty association says while there is no agreement yet.

Still, there is enough progress that the union advised its members to return to work, and they are expected to be in their classes Thursday.

SIU Carbondale Faculty Association spokesman Dave Johnson said striking faculty members will return to classrooms on Thursday, adding “we begin working together to make the university all it can be.”

The walkout culminated a labor dispute dating to at least April of last year, when bargaining got under way in advance of the contracts that lapsed that following July. The unions signed off on a possible strike in late September and early last month.

Dave Johnson, a Faculty Association spokesman, called the strike necessary in the bargaining unit’s quest for what it called openness from the university over any future need for possible job cuts or furloughs, specifically seeking proof that such action would be fiscally imperative.

Johnson insisted the walkout wasn’t motivated by salary issues, saying the union turned down the administration’s offer of pay increases totaling 4 percent over four years when it learned such raises would require sizable increases in tuition. Instead, he said, the union proposed receiving raises only if the university’s overall revenues increased.

“If (the university’s) finances improve, our salaries should increase. If not, not,” he said.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)