EDITORIAL: EIU statement on union is full of misleading numbers

Editorial Board

Last week, Eastern had released its first, and so far only, statement about the ongoing union contract negotiations and EIU-UPI filing their intent to strike as early as Thursday.

Within that press release were several confusing and alarming statements by Eastern, which painted the union in a bad light.

We at The News feel that this press release was only meant to persuade the public to agree with Eastern’s side of the negotiations.

The press release was covered by the news staff and is available on page 2. 

The first unusual numbers being used involve the description of financial bargained contracts of the past. However, instead of a usual comparison of only going back a decade, Eastern’s administration went back to 2010. 

There are multiple possible reasons for this. One, in FY17 and FY18, it was agreed to have no salary increase since the university was trying to make it through the state budget impasse. Going two more years back, allows the university to look better by being able to add two years with increases to cancel out the void years.

Second, comparing each year’s salary increase, all the years listed remain under 2 percent until FY22, which was exactly 2 percent. 

However, in 2010 the across the board, ATB, salary increase was 3.5%. 

FY10 was a different financial arrangement for Eastern which has not even closely occurred again in over a decade. By adding that fiscal year’s figures is unfair and misrepresents the current financial status for faculty.

Within the 12-year range, Eastern used faculty who have worked at Eastern for the entire 12 years to calculate an average increase between FY10 to FY22. 

For tenured or tenure-track faculty, Eastern reported the increase to be “roughly 40 percent.” First, what exactly does “roughly” 40 percent mean? 32 percent, 38.9%, etc. By not providing the raw numbers Eastern can show a one-sided description of the financial issues being discussed.

Then for annually contracted faculty and academic support professionals, Eastern reported their salaries to have increased by 47 percent and 52 percent respectively in the 12-year period.

These are insane numbers to claim as an increase for faculty’s salaries over the last 12 years. 

While Eastern refused to comment on what the raw numbers for these calculations were and how they got the percentages they did, we at The News had to speculate how these numbers were created.

With only a cumulative 19 percent of ATB salary increases from FY10 to FY22, how did Eastern get roughly 40, 42 and 52 percentages for the salary increase.

The only option which The News could think of that would allow the university to not be lying is that Eastern’s administration included the consumer price index, CPI, inflation rate into the calculations.

What this means is that how much $1 was worth in 2010 has increased to today was included in the percentages representing how much faculty salaries have increased. Meaning by default, a faculty member’s 2010 salary is now worth more today through inflation.

For example, if a faculty member made $50,000 in FY10, based on the CPI inflation calculator, that $50K is now worth $67,938.42 in 2022 going from January 2010 to January 2022.

Based on what Eastern is saying about tenured or tenured-track faculty receiving a roughly 40 percent increase in their salary, at 40 percent if they made $50K in 2010 they should make $70K in 2022.

This means with CPI inflation, that tenured or tenure-track faculty member actually only makes $5,125.78 more than they did in 2010. After 12 years of working at Eastern, on average they only have an extra $5K to show it.

Plus this calculation done by Eastern’s administrative negotiation team only includes faculty who have been at Eastern for the whole 12 years. Anyone newly hired or even hired 11 years ago does not have the same increase rate as listed. 

An additional part that skewers the calculations is that there are multiple ways tenured or tenure-track faculty can receive individual raises that apply to no one else, but have been added into Eastern’s average calculation. 

Faculty who receive awards get a 7.5% salary increase. That applies to no one else, yet it is added to this bogus calculation done on Eastern’s behalf.

These percentages are outrageous and wildly misrepresent the real financial situations of Eastern and the faculty’s salaries.

These numbers are being listed by other news organizations who do not check the facts before publishing them, which only feeds to make the union look like the selfish bad guys in this situation. 

By releasing these numbers, Eastern is only making themselves look better for those not noticing, and even worse by those, like in EIU-UPI and at The News, who know these numbers are deceiving.


The Editorial Board can be reached at 581-2812.