EIU-UPI, Eastern’s negotiators meet Monday for 2022 contract

Members+of+the+University+Professionals+of+Illinois+socialize+before+the+negotiation+team+meets+with+Eastern%E2%80%99s+negotiation+team+at+Booth+Library+Monday+afternoon.

Rob Le Cates

Members of the University Professionals of Illinois socialize before the negotiation team meets with Eastern’s negotiation team at Booth Library Monday afternoon.

Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, met with the university’s negotiation team Monday afternoon to begin bargaining for 25 proposals in a new four-year contract in the Edgar Room in Booth Library.

 Every four years, EIU-UPI has a negotiation team bargain for proposals to be added to the new contract. This year EIU-UPI is bargaining for 25 proposals and met with Eastern’s negotiation team at 3 p.m. Monday. 

Prior to the meeting, members of EIU-UPI gathered at 2:45 p.m. with shirts and flyers to rally support for the EIU-UPI negotiation team and awareness to students about the desired contract proposals.

Jennifer Stringfellow, the president of EIU-UPI and professor of special education, was one of the members at the rally outside Booth Library at the North entrance before the meeting began.

“Today we’re here to support our negotiating team that is going to present our bargains to the administration, so we want to support them,” Stringfellow said. “We want to make a big scene as much as we can to let our administration know that the union is in support of this.”

EIU-UPI represents a large variety of employees on campus including professors, academic advisors, annually contracted faculty, the tenured and tenure-track faculty and academic support professionals.

Billy Hung, a professor of biological sciences and leading EIU-UPI negotiation team, said EIU-UPI is looking to answer questions from Eastern’s negotiation team and addressed the proposals EIU-UPI has to improve work conditions.

“In our union, there’s the tenure contracted faculty, the annually contracted faculty and the academic support professionals,” Hung said. “So each of them has work condition improvement that we want to get, and of course part of that is changes in our compensation package.”

The compensation loss comes from inflation in recent years and the university not having the money to give any raises.

“We’re actually dealing with a 6 percent wage loss, so we’re trying to recover that through this process,” Hung said.

Hung gave an opening statement which highlighted the most important proposals of the 25 presented to Eastern’s negotiating team.

First listed was a proposal to improve job security for the Annually Contracted Faculty, ACF, members.

“The ACF members at EIU serve a core and indispensable role in delivering instructions to our students, particularly for beginning first and second-year students.”

A proposal for the Academic Support Professional members was made for an offered greater autonomy and clearer accountability in their work plans.

The most important proposal for the tenured and tenure-track faculty was for the decreasing numbers of tenured and tenure-track faculty in departments to be addressed and resolved.

A compensation package seeked in the proposal package included “across-the-board raises, merit-based raises for both units, as well as changes in the compensation rate for overload credit units.”

The negotiation teams for EIU-UPI and Eastern’s meeting lasted around two hours and is only the first of multiple meetings to negotiate.

“Today is the first time we present our side of the proposal to them,” Hung said. “So we will listen to their questions, answer whatever questions they have, give them time to think about it and then they will give us their feedback. And we go back and forth from there, so today is just the very beginning of presenting our proposal.”

 

Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]