I’ve exchanged emails with several members concerned about how the budget stalemate in Springfield will affect UPI members and our university generally.
Vice-President Pierick and President Hahs have sent emails explaining that they have reserves on hand to meet erratic distributions from the state. Those of us working this summer should be fine. And the emails from the administration have also said that protecting instruction is a priority. This ordering is a requisite of revenue as well as our mission to serve students and their families in the State of Illinois.
Many university members in Civil Service, however, have been affected by the budget uncertainty. We were the first university to layoff anyone in response to the possibility of cuts, for a while we were the only one, but now Eastern Illinois University may be laying off Civil Service employees as well.
For us, it seems that approximately 28 people have been affected in AFSCME. So far there have been 14 bumps (someone with higher seniority moving someone else out of their position), 9 layoffs and 5 people were placed in vacant positions.
Civil Service workers with seniority were given a choice: take a layoff or exercise their bumping rights. Many did the latter. Who they bumped depended on the next person with the same title who had less seniority than them. Where they were reassigned to also depended on that. Most have been told by now where they will be going.
AFSCME President Ellen Larrimore further reports that the Civil Service people who ended up getting laid off where the ones with the lowest seniority, of course. But everyone got 60 days notice per the AFSCME contract in which to continue working, time in which to hopefully find a job elsewhere. They are also eligible to draw unemployment benefits for whatever the full length of eligibility is in IL.
What can we do for our brothers and sisters in AFSCME? Please reach out to everyone you know who is affected by these non-instructional cuts. There are people in non-unionized positions being laid off too and we should reach out to them. If you are away for the summer, please call in and check on people. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help with their transition(s).
As soon as I know anything further on the budget, I will let everyone know.