EIU-UPI accepts Eastern’s contract offer Tuesday

Madelyn Kidd, Editor-in-Chief

EIU-UPI members agreed to accept Eastern’s final contract offer by 92 percent after over a year of negotiations. (File Photo)

Eastern’s chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, EIU-UPI, voted to ratify and approve Eastern’s final contract offer by 92 percent on Tuesday.

EIU-UPI and Eastern’s administration have been negotiating for a new contract since March 21, 2022. They have been working without a contract since Aug. 31.

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.

The union went on strike from April 6 and continued until April 13.

Eastern offered their “best and final offer” for a new contract on April 12.

Union members voted Tuesday to accept the tentative agreement which 92 percent of voting members approved.

Eastern’s 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 course of the contract.

Part of the contract agreement that the union is proud of getting is parental leave. Prior to this agreement, there was not a paid parental leave system for faculty. Now, there is paid leave even for adoptive parents.

Jennifer Stringfellow, EIU-UPI’s president and professor of special education, said she is proud of the contract offer and the union members for their involvement.

“I am proud of this contract,” Stringfellow said. “But more so, I’m proud of each and every one of our members who walked long days on the picket line, chanted, rallied, marched, shared our story with neighbors and the media, connected with each other, uplifted our students, and strengthened our community. When we delivered our intent to strike to President Glassman last month, we made the decision to do whatever it took to stand up for our profession and to improve learning conditions for our students. Because of our resolve and solidarity, we did just that.”

Billy Hung, EIU-UPI’s lead negotiator and biology professor, said the contract agreement is a win for everyone.

“Our contract is a win for our faculty, staff, students and the working conditions at EIU,” Hung said. “The parental leave proposal alone was a needed improvement to our contract and brings equity to our members starting a family. The raises we fought for are fair and help to make up for the ones we sacrificed to help our institution through Governor Rauner’s budget crisis. And the workload protections we won will continue to make Eastern a well-supported learning environment for students. We can’t thank our students and community enough for their tremendous outpouring of support for EIU UPI members – during our year of bargaining and especially while we were on strike. This was not easy, but we have come out of it stronger as a union and as a university community.”


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