NEIU Professors Rally for a Fair Contract and in Solidarity with Instructors

Photo+by+Dan+Maurer

Photo by Dan Maurer

Dan Maurer, Writer

University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) 4100, the Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) chapter of the union held a rally to garner support for their negotiations for a new contract with the university administration and to show solidarity before President Gloria J. Gibson’s State of the University address.

Enrollment in NEIU has declined heavily for years, and the loss in tuition revenue is causing problems for NEIU’s budget.

Nancy Matthews, the President of UPI, said the administration is trying to “solve the crisis on our backs…they want to increase our workload.” Many members of the faculty are concerned about being overworked and unable to afford their bills or perform well on the job with their students.

Professor Matthews added “The needs of faculty are what provide learning conditions for our students…We need to be not overworked, stretched so thin that we can’t give attention to our students, who we love to work with.”

UPI’s top concerns are for their instructors, teachers who have to get rehired every year. With the decreasing number of students, those teachers are struggling to keep their jobs. A lot of them went from full-time, to part-time, and are now struggling to pay their bills. According to Professor Matthews, some of these instructors are the most committed teachers who have been at this school for decades.

UPI is very frustrated with the NEIU’s administration as they have failed to bring in more first-year students and transfer students and retain those students year after year. There are no plans by the union to strike at this time. However, if they did, it would not be their first. UPI did strike before in 2004.

If students or faculty are interested in connecting with UPI, they will be in the Village Square on the main campus every Tuesday until negotiations conclude.