EIU-UPI speak to BOT about negotiations on Friday

Eastern+University+President+David+Glassman+gives+the+Board+of+Trustees+an+update+on+university+highlights+during+the+first+BOT+meeting+of+the+fall+semester+on+Spet.+9+in+the+Grand+Ballroom.

Rob Le Cates

Eastern University President David Glassman gives the Board of Trustees an update on university highlights during the first BOT meeting of the fall semester on Spet. 9 in the Grand Ballroom.

Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

The president of EIU-UPI spoke at the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday about the ongoing negotiations the union is facing for a new contract.

Eastern’s chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, have been negotiating for a new contract since March, and their four-year contract ended on Aug. 31.

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

The president of EIU-UPI and an associate professor professor of special education Jennifer Stringfellow spoke to the trustees during the public comment portion of Friday’s meeting letting the trustees know how the negotiation is going and how those in the union are feeling.

“I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving as the EIU-UPI president,” Stringfellow said. “It’s in that capacity that I speak to [the trustees] today. I have to let you know that I’m troubled by the current negotiations and how they are progressing. Of course, there’s always back and forth. That is the nature of bargaining, and generally both parties are working for the best of their point of view. And I trust that that is understood. However, as I have said this to Dr. Glassman and Gatrell, I feel that I want to say this to all of you here. I am insulted by the way these negotiations have been progressing… What’s been keeping me up at night, for most of this time, is the people I represent as the UPI president. I don’t feel lucky and valued at this campus.”

Stringfellow went on to say that Eastern marketing affordable and quality education to students is great. However, those in EIU-UPI are the majority of who make that marketing work and true.

“…That is laudable and makes us all proud,” Stringfellow said. “However, in order to fulfill the recruitment and marketing statements, it falls on the shoulders of the people I represent to make that true. We are the ones who teach the course required, and we are the ones who supervise the practice of internships in which our students engage even at the undergraduate level. We are the ones who supervise various special projects that include students in our departments… We are the ones who advise those who are brand new to EIU as first time transfer and international students. We are the ones who supervise recognized student organizations with just about every department and every college on this campus. In short, we want to make the marketing and recruiting strategies a true thing.”

Stringfellow went on to say the union members deserve better.

“We deserve better; we deserve to be valued, to have this board, the administration and the negotiating team recognize that value,” Stringfellow said. “The way you do it is at the bargaining table. That leads to a contract that demonstrates what you value.”

Stringfellow requested the trustees to talk to Eastern’s administration negotiation team about returning to the bargaining table with a new set of proposals that “demonstrates the respect for faculty and staff.”

Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Joyce Madigan said she would be watching the negotiations as time goes on while not “micromanaging.”

“I can’t say that I have anything I’m gonna be asking them about,” Madigan said. “It is something I want to watch. But I don’t want to micromanage the administration. So that’s really what it comes down to. I want it to be fair from both sides. We’re an oversight body. We support the faculty, but we also support administration. And it does take everyone to work together. And like I said, we’re not here to micromanage administration.”

The trustees unanimously approved a $309K purchase for water treatment chemicals and service used on campus for the next three years.

The bid for the water treatment went to Elemental Solutions LLC for $309,300. This bid is for the period starting Sept. 23 to June 2025 with the option for Eastern to be able to renew this contract for a three year period two times and an additional one year period.

The water treatment chemicals and services are needed for continuing to have heating and hot water on campus, according to the purchase report.

The trustees elected a new Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees after finalizing their new bylaws on how the vice chair is elected.

The trustees unanimously approved the amendments to the Board’s bylaws to now read that board members will elect the chair, vice chair, secretary and a member pro-tem annually by secret ballot by their own board members. The Chairperson and Secretary shall hold office for one-year terms, and others shall hold office until their successors are elected and qualified.

Following the amended bylaws, the board elected their vice chair as Christopher Hicks.

The trustees also unanimously approved an additional $50,000 purchase for the ongoing repairs to Booth Library’s North steps.

The additional funds will go towards renewing the waterproof layer on the west side of the North steps for an estimated cost of $43,556.

The total bid amount approved for the construction of the North steps was revised to know total to $311,800.

The trustees approved the additional funds to go towards the Booth Library North steps.

 

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