NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Hundreds of Illinois State University (ISU) faculty could soon be part of their own union.

According to an Illinois Federation of Teachers news release, 650 tenured and tenure-track faculty at ISU filed for authorization/membership cards with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to express their intent to unionize Wednesday.

“It’s a really exciting moment for us,” Xiaoying Zhao, ISU assistant professor of teaching and learning said. “Today we have taken the necessary steps to formalize our union and send a clear message that the faculty at ISU want a strong voice to advocate for the needs of our students, this institution, and our colleagues who are dedicated to them both.”

ISU Director of Media Relations Eric Jome released the following statement:

Illinois State University is aware of the announcement by University Professionals of Illinois that they have filed with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board for representation of University tenured and tenure track faculty, but the University has not received official notification of UPI’s actions from the Labor Board. Illinois State University respects the legal right of University tenured and tenure-line faculty members to seek union representation under the processes set forth in the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act.       

ISU Director of Media Relations Eric Jome

United Faculty of ISU (UFISU) started its unionization efforts in August, and it is expected to be certified by August.