BREAKING: EIU admin offers final offer for EIU-UPI contract agreement


Rob Le Cates

EIU-UPI and student picketers walk outside Old Main on their fourth day of picketing for a fair contract Tuesday morning.

Madelyn Kidd, Editor-in-Chief

Eastern is offering its “last, best and final” offer to Eastern’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, after the negotiation session Tuesday.

EIU-UPI have been bargaining for a new faculty contract since March 21, 2022. They have been working without a contract since Aug. 31. The union began striking on Thursday.

EIU-UPI represents roughly 450 employees on campus including professors, academic advisors, annually contracted faculty, the tenured and tenure-track faculty and academic support professionals.

Eastern’s administration and EIU-UPI met for a bargaining session Tuesday at 4 p.m. until approximately 10:50 p.m.

Eastern’s last proposal includes an across the board salary increase over four fiscal years of 5 percent, 4 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent. Eastern’s total proposal would now cost the university $6.6M over the four years of the contract, according to Eastern’s press release.

EIU-UPI’s negotiation team left “abruptly” after giving an economic proposal around 10:30 p.m., according to Eastern’s press release.

Eastern said they had to email their final offer and response to the last EIU-UPI economic proposal.

Billy Hung, EIU-UPI’s lead negotiator and a biology professor, said in an email sent to EIU-UPI members that the team was tired and left to avoid unnecessary mistakes 

“Our team is mentally and physically spent,” Hung said. “To avoid making unnecessary mistakes, we will resume bargaining… when our minds have a chance to rest and refresh.”

Eastern criticized EIU-UPI’s negotiation team leaving the bargaining table early. Eastern said union members attended a rally at Governor State University causing the late start time for negotiations. Governor State began striking Tuesday and held a rally to encourage lawmakers and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker to get involved with the three Illinois public universities currently on strike, Governor State, Chicago State and Eastern.

“Despite UPI prioritizing a rally at another university over resolving its own contract, EIU came to the table Tuesday evening with every intention to stay as long as it took to reach an agreement that enabled our students and faculty to return to the classroom,” Eastern said. “…UPI gave an economic proposal at 10:30 p.m. and abruptly walked out of negotiations without giving EIU the opportunity to respond across the table. In doing so, UPI demonstrated that it was not interested in reaching an agreement and it abandoned its commitment to EIU’s students. UPI’s premature cessation of bargaining left EIU with no choice but to deliver its last, best, and final offer electronically to UPI.”

Eastern said they were also willing to meet with EIU-UPI on Monday and earlier on Tuesday to reach a resolution, but EIU-UPI declined.

EIU-UPI members previously said if Eastern made an offer to meet on Monday to the federal mediator involved in the bargaining sessions, EIU-UPI was never made aware of that offer.

Eastern said they were “disappointed” from Tuesday’s bargaining session.

“EIU cannot express enough how disappointed it is in the conduct of UPI, and its refusal to stay at the table to end this strike,” Eastern said.


EIU-UPI released a statement Wednesday.


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