EIU-UPI votes to accept salary deferral, administration approves

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois voted to accept a pay deferral plan that President Glassman approved later that day.

This plan was put in place to raise over $2 million that Glassman said was needed to make payroll.

Bargaining members will now defer a percentage of their salary on a graduated system.

Those making $50,000 or less will defer 2.5 percent of their annual base contract salary and those with a salary of $51,000 to $75,000 would defer 5 percent.

Faculty members would get paid back from this deferral if Eastern gets any state funding, including Monetary Award Program reimbursements,an FY17 appropriation and any funds from the FY16 budget.

If bargaining unit members make $75,000 to $100,000 they 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.

60 percent of eligible members voted on this proposal, with 234 members voting for it and 65 voting against it.

After the members voted, Glassman said the administration has accepted and appreciates the UPI membership’s approval to assist the university.

“The salary deferral became necessary because of the budgetary impasse in Springfield that has left our state’s public universities without funding going into the 10th month of the fiscal year,” Glassman said.

Billy Hung, media coordinator for the University Professionals of Illinois, said this plan, through making provisions for an FY17 proposal and having a tiered deferral system, protects those who are vulnerable, such as those with lower incomes, but it is still painful, especially for Annually Contracted Faculty who may not be hired back next fall.

“If you ask them to defer a payment, and then not have a job, that’s rough,” Hung said.

Hung said  although they would get paid back after the school received an FY17 appropriation, this could happen at any point during the year, even as late as November and December.

Lucinda Berry, an English professor, echoed these sentiments in a UPI press release, saying though this proposal provided a more equitable solution than what the administration originally proposed, it left those on annual contracts vulnerable.

“We are giving this loan to our employer with no certainty about being able to pay our own bills. It’s frustrating,” Berry said.

Hung said there could be a strain on those with families as well.

Jon Blitz, president of the UPI, said he expected the UPI to vote to pass the proposal.

He said they were able to raise slightly more than $2 million as they structured the proposal so the four income brackets gave different amounts.

“We messed with the percentages until we met an exceeded ($2 millions),” Blitz said.

Blitz met with Glassman Wednesday to discuss the proposal and said Glassman brought up some concerns he had.

Glassman said while he did have some concerns with the timing and conditions of repayment in the proposal, these concerns do not outweigh the benefits.

“The proposal accomplished what the UPI intended by assisting the university in aiding our cash flow while protecting the contracted compensation level of its members,” Glassman said.

Glassman said the deferred salary of the faculty will assist the university in stretching their cash flow through the summer as they wait for state funding and fall tuition revenue.

Hung said the payroll office was told about the proposal, so the knew about the income brackets and they have a “heads up about it”.

Though the proposal was voted on after Spring Break, Hung said they have not been told that they cannot take the deferral out of the three or four paychecks planned.

Hung said they also have not been told that this proposal misses the March paycheck.

Blitz said the UPI did this voluntarily, and voted to help the students and institution.

“We’re pretty pleased,” Blitz said. “Now we can move on to the next crisis.”


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