Eastern Illinois University faculty approve new contract
Eastern Illinois University’s faculty and staff union has voted to accept terms of a new contract. The union said 92% of EIU University Professionals of Illinois members ratified the deal this week.
“I am proud of this contract, 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,” said EIU UPI President Jennifer Stringfellow. “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.”
A six day strike was suspended and a tentative agreement reached on April 13. Union members worked without a contract since last September.
The union announced the new contract will provide an overall raise of 15% over the four years of the contract, retroactive to when the previous agreement expired.
“This compensation, while still falling short of covering the combined impact of 6% wage loss from past years and historically high inflation rates, still ensures EIU can remain a competitive employer in the region, retain the world-class faculty and staff they have, and continue to attract high-quality educators to work at the university,” said a statement from the union. “In addition, EIU UPI fought for paid parental leave for new parents, including adoptive parents, which was previously not offered to university employees. Before this contract, the only way for employees to have paid parental leave when starting a family was to spend nearly two years accumulating unused sick leave days.”
“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, said EIU UPI Lead Negotiator Billy Hung. “And the workload protections we won will continue to make Eastern a well-supported learning environment for students. This was not easy, but we have come out of it stronger as a union and as a university community.”
The contract will next go before the EIU Board of Trustees for a vote. The university has not issued a response to the union vote.