EIU-UPI sets meetings for members to discuss negotiated agreement

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

Eastern’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois will have two general membership meetings to discuss the terms of its recently negotiated agreement at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the Lumpkin Auditorium.

One meeting will also be online for members who cannot make the meetings on campus.

EIU-UPI President Jeannie Ludlow said the meetings are for members to ask the negotiation team questions regarding the agreement or the process.

If ratified, the agreement becomes the new contract for EIU-UPI for the next four years. Ludlow said the last time a contract was ratified was in 2012 but it was extended in 2016 for two years because of the budget impasse.

The new agreement comes after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on Janus V. AFSCME, which states that government workers cannot be forced to contribute “fair share” fees to public sector labor unions that represent them in cases such as collective bargaining because it violates the First Amendment as forced political speech.

As a result of the ruling, non-members or “potential members,” as Ludlow called them, are not allowed to vote on the ratification of the agreement and do not receive liability insurance.

Ludlow said the decision makes her “sad” because it adds a divide in the union that it did not used to have.

“Now there are faculty and advisors on campus whose work conditions will be governed by this contract who do not get to vote on the ratification of the contract because of the Janus law,” Ludlow said. “That makes me very sad, I think that’s not a good thing.”

Ludlow said she understands that she cannot change this because it is the law but said those who are not members are still her colleagues and are not “separate faculty” in her mind because they all work together to keep their contract strong.

Therefore, though she said the meetings are for union membership to come and hear about the contract and learn about it, she also said they are not going to stand at the door and say, “You don’t have a card, you can’t be here.”

“I’m not going to do that, I’m not that person,” Ludlow said.

As of right now, the agreement is in its editing stage and once it is “exactly right,” Ludlow said it will be shared with members then published on the EIU-UPI webpage.

Members will then vote to ratify the agreement on Sept. 10-12, Ludlow said.

“Almost immediately it becomes our new contract so any changes to our pay would go in effect right away,” she said.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].