EIU-UPI votes to reject salary reduction proposal, offers new proposal

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois voted to reject a proposal that would reduce their salary by 5.6 percent of their base annual salary.

With this old proposal, the UPI would be able to get the money back after Aug. 1, 2016, if the university receives the first $5 million FY16 appropriation from the state.

70 percent of those eligible voted on the original proposal, and the vote came to 191 people against the proposal and 167 people in favor of it.

In a rationale for the proposal, President David Glassman wrote that the university is still about $2 million short of making payroll through the end of the current fiscal year without further action.

Billy Hung, media coordinator for the UPI, said those who voted yes feared the consequences of Eastern not getting the $2 million President David Glassman said was needed , so even though they all agreed that the plan was flawed they voted in favor of the proposal so there would not be an impact on the campus.

The people who voted no saw the flaws in the proposed plan, Hung said.

The UPI is instead proposing another pay deferral plan that Hung said will raise more than the $2 million.

In this proposal, instead of a flat rate of a 5.6 percent reduction going to everyone, faculty members would be divided into four income groups.

Hung said this would be so people with lower incomes defer less money and people with higher incomes defer more.

Hung said the executive board, who came up with the new proposal, believe it will be passed as they listened to the concerns and feedback people had regarding the old proposal.

Bargaining unit members with a yearly base salary of $50,000 or less will defer 2.5 percent of the annual base contract salary and those with a salary of $51,000 to $75,000 would defer 5 percent.

If bargaining unit members make $75,000 to $100,000 will defer 6 and a half percent of their annual salary and those who make more than $100,000 will defer 7 and a half percent.

These deferments will either be taken in four or three installments based on bargaining unit members’ scheduled paychecks.

In the original proposal, faculty members would only be paid back if the  university were to  receive the fiscal year 2016 appropriation from the state.

The plan the UPI is proposing would make it so faculty members would get paid back if Eastern gets any state funding, including money from Monetary Award Program reimbursements,an FY17 appropriation and any funds from the FY16 budget.

For every dollar that Eastern receives, the UPI would also get a dollar back of their deferred salary.

If the university does not receive funding for either FY17 or FY16, the salary deferment will then be taken as a reduction and faculty would receive no money back.

The deferrals will end if the University receives an appropriation of $2 million or more or borrows against this amount.

Hung said the issues people had with the original proposal was the complicated language, and also that many felt that the proposal adversely affected their most vulnerable members with low incomes.

“Those two things were the biggest hurdles,” Hung said.

Hung said the UPI really wanted to help with the current budget crisis, but members needed a better mechanism to do that with.

Jonathan Blitz, president of Eastern’s chapter of the UPI, said their members deserved a proposal that helps Eastern with the cash flow problem that they can trust and that allows them to do their jobs.

Paul McCann, interim vice president of business affairs, said the administration was hoping they would approve the old proposal, and they now have to go back to the drawing board.

He said when everyone gets back to campus after spring break, they will work and figure things out.

Voting on the new proposal will take place Monday March 21 and Tuesday March 22. Monday’s voting will take place at 2:30 p.m. during and following a membership meeting and voting on Tuesday will happen from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Bridge Lounge of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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