Union, university reach tentative agreements on 11 proposals


Ashanti Thomas

Billy Hung, the associate professor under the department of biological sciences, hosts a faculty union meeting in the Arcola-Tuscola room of Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. The members negotiate an employee contract and update one another on new information.

Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois have continuously met and negotiated with Eastern’s negotiation team for the EIU-UPI’s new contract since March 21. Today, the old contract ends while negotiations are still ongoing with 11 proposals tentatively agreed to and 25 proposals still being negotiated. 

There are 11 proposals from both EIU-UPI and the negotiation team which have tentative agreements. Nine of the proposals come from EIU-UPI and two from Eastern’s negotiation team.

EIU-UPI is the union representing Eastern faculty which are tenured or tenure-track, referred to as Unit A, and annually contracted faculty, ACF, and academic support professionals, ASP, referred to as Unit B.

Currently, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, is the contract between the EIU-UPI and Eastern, which governs the rights and compensation of work conditions for all Eastern employees with a job position within Unit A and B.

The CBA is renegotiated by EIU-UPI and Eastern’s negotiation team every four years. Although negotiations for the new contract are still ongoing, the old contract expires today. The plan is for the old contract’s conditions and agreements to continue until the new contract is finalized.

Of the 11 proposals tentatively agreed upon, the two proposals from administration are for emails to become an official form of communication and for ACFs hired through a national search to be able to have the title “Visiting Teaching Professor.”

There are nine proposals from EIU-UPI which have also been tentatively agreed to.

It was tentatively agreed for the ACF renewal date to be changed and added clauses to the process. 

ACFs during the old contract received a new contract each year and were notified on April 10 if they have a new contract for the next year. For those who weren’t renewed and would not have a job at Eastern next year, they only had the summer to find a new job before the next year starts in August.

Now, ACFs are notified on April 15 if they are not renewed. However, if an ACF has had five satisfactory or higher annual evaluations, they are notified on Jan. 1 if their contract will not be renewed.

Then, if an ACF has had eight annual evaluations of satisfactory or higher, they get a non-renewal notice with their one-year contract giving them a year and a half to find a new job.

Finally, all eligible work must be assigned to ACFs, up to 24, before administration can hire adjuncts.

Another EIU-UPI proposal was for sabbaticals for Unit A. The old contract had one sabbatical per 16 Unit A faculty or sabbaticals rounded by fractions. All the sabbaticals awarded, 70 percent have to be full-pay for half a semester.

The new negotiation has one sabbatical per 15 faculty and sabbaticals rounded up by 1/100 of a fraction. At least one sabbatical will be half pay for a full year, with the remaining sabbaticals being full pay for one semester.

It was agreed for changes about if ASPs must work during inclement weather. Originally, ASPs had to either show up on campus when classes are canceled, or use personal time off.

Now, there are some changes to potentially allow ASPs to be able to work from home if conditions allow it. 

In order for an ASP to be able to work from home when classes are canceled instead of coming to campus or using paid time off: classes have to be canceled by inclement weather, any on-campus events requiring the ASP were canceled and the ASP having available work that can be done from home. 

Otherwise, ASPs have to use paid time off if any events requiring them were canceled or come to campus.

It was agreed upon for an update for the process of portfolios to be made in the new contract.

Originally, portfolios could be either print or electronic portfolios.

It was added that anyone hired after August this year will use electronic portfolios while those who started before August will transition to using electronic portfolios no later than January 2024 with possible extensions to January 2026.

Eastern will provide the necessary forms for portfolios electronically, or if they do not, portfolios can revert to being printed.

Access to portfolios will be restricted to only the authors and assigned evaluators until the evaluation is finished. IT can also access portfolios for management, and faculty will retain access in cases of any grievance or sanction actions.

There are four other proposals from EIU-UPI tentatively agreed to as well.

This includes adding gender identity into the non-discrimination clause of the new contract, an adjustment to the language about union dues, and a portfolio is not required for irrevocable notice of retirement.

Another proposal was for a union office to be added on campus, which will be in Lumpkin Hall, and access to union membership information through Eastern.


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