UPI to discuss budget, Eastern finances

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois will have a general body meeting where members will talk about furloughs, the budget and the financial situation of the university at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Coleman Hall Auditorium.

A furlough is an unpaid leave of absence where employees do not perform any of their usual job duties.

Jon Blitz, the president of Eastern’s chapter of the UPI, said the union needs to be convinced furlough days are necessary before agreeing to take them.

“We’re trying to figure out, ‘do we really need to do this?’” Blitz said. “I expect to, but we’re not going to go into it blindly.”

The UPI would need to see if the semester could go on without faculty members taking furlough days before deciding to take them.

Blitz said nobody knows what to think in regards to the furloughs at this point.

“What are furloughs going to look like? We don’t know,” Blitz said. “It’s a question of, if we have to go that way, the sky’s the limit.”

The UPI would have to negotiate, and Blitz said there were no answers to these questions.

Blitz said the negotiations would be similar to the ones that happened over the summer with the annually contracted faculty layoffs.

“It would need to get done quickly, if it gets done,” Blitz said. “Ultimately, it would have to go up for a ratification vote.”

Blitz said he cannot dictate a substantive change in the contract.

The UPI has general body meetings once a semester, but the union will have more if members deem them necessary.

While the executive board members of the UPI did not see the furloughs coming, they did sense that they would need to meet because of the current financial situation and to get people up to speed on what was going on.

Local UPI president John Miller will be at the meeting to discuss the situation at all the other campuses with a UPI chapter.

Legislative director Nick Yelverton will also be present to talk about the situation in Springfield.

Blitz and Eastern President David Glassman had a short meeting on Friday to discuss the meeting Blitz and Glassman had on Wednesday, where Glassman brought up the possibility of faculty members and the UPI taking furlough days.

The Fund EIU rally, which takes place at 4 p.m. Friday in the Library Quad, will be discussed as well, with the UPI membership being encouraged to go.

Coffee and cookies will be set up at 4:30 p.m. outside the Coleman Hall Auditorium before the meeting.

 

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]