University Professionals of Illinois Serve Pizza, Teach About Their Rights

Dan Maurer, Writer

UPI, the union representing faculty, librarians and advisors at NEIU held a teach-in in Village Square at the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Professors and union members spoke with students about the ongoing contract negotiations between UPI and the university administration.

The union contract with Northeastern expires every five years, and the current contract expired in 2019, but continued with rollovers through the pandemic. UPI is pushing back on proposals from the administration. 

According to Brandon Bisvey, associate professor of Spanish, and part of UPI’s communications team, current proposals from administration would increase professor workload by at least 25%. University administrators have proposed that staff should take on four classes per semester rather than the current three classes. 

This would cause teachers to have less time for answering emails and attending to the needs of their classes and individual students, as well as less time for their own research and to participate in other programs for students. 

Not only have NEIU administrators proposed increasing teacher class load, but they have done so without providing any raises or benefits, even to compensate for rising inflation and cost of living. 

UPI is keen to express to students that their working conditions are students’ learning conditions. Increasing workload without any increase in compensation would only lead to students learning from teachers who are feeling overworked and underpaid. This could easily translate into attrition, teachers resigning and seeking employment elsewhere. If faculty begin to leave NEIU, that would mean fewer available classes and even less reason for students to enroll or remain at the university.

UPI and NEIU professors are looking to connect with students and particularly student organizations that would like to support them and organize with them. UPI was handing out a flier, pictured here. Students can follow the QR code pictured and give their non-NEIU email address to receive weekly updates on negotiations and how they can get involved with UPI.