As the bills were passing and the emails were flying today, the NEIU/UPI Executive Board met to talk about and get a grip on our entire union’s accomplishments and the need for next steps.
The Stop-Gap bills to fund Higher Education in Illinois–which passed the House and Senate and are going to the Governor to be signed–are a direct response to our political mobilization.
Many of us were in Springfield Wednesday, NEIU folk had been down lobbying in March, and all of the events on APRIL 1 are on the radar of our leaders now. In coalition, all unions have been working to support higher ed.
Our direct actions and lobbying days are working!
Congratulate yourselves and thank you very much for all of the hard work that got us to this point. Remember, the Sacrifice Days for NEIU/UPI did not go forward without a plan for mobilization and ending the failed government of Bruce Rauner. We’re doing it!
And we still have more work ahead of us to finish the job of full funding for higher education and all things public serving the people of Illinois.
We are in a much better political position than we were a month ago, but our actions will have to continue over the summer.
The bills being sent to the governor today are only a stop-gap measure as John Miller explains below in the email I’m forwarding from him. We will continue to organize and push for funding that maintains the value of our university as we know it.
In solidarity and keep reading . . . ,
The NEIU/UPI Executive Board
Here are two MUST-DO Events for Next Week:
Membership Meeting/Discussion on Strategy Thus Far and This Summer
Thursday, 28 April at 3:00 BBH 1001
MAY DAY ALL NEIU UNIONS Potluck and Party
Sunday, 1 May 4:00-8:00 at the Irish American Heritage Center
4626 N. Knox Avenue, Chicago IL 60630
And here’s the legislative and political perspective from John!
Today the Illinois General Assembly passed a measure that drastically cuts higher education funding in the state of Illinois. If left unaddressed, this is the single greatest one-time decrease in higher education funding in Illinois history. Let’s be clear — this reduction is the result of a Governor who refuses to address the needs of our state and now our universities are paying the price for his failed ideology.
We are relieved that Chicago State University and our other teetering universities will not be facing the immediate threat of closure and that our other institutions will receive some very minimal relief if the bill is signed by the Governor. SB2059, however, will force up to 70% in cuts to most public university funding (Chicago State will receive a 40% cut) and 55% cuts to MAP Grants, since the bill provides approximately 30% funding to most public universities. Currently, there is no plan or discussion to provide the remaining funding to our institutions or to MAP Grants.
Our students will continue to face the brunt of these cuts with pressures to increase tuition, eliminate programs and decrease access to materials necessary for them to pursue their degrees. Additionally, hard-working faculty and employees will bear the burden of this 70% cut by continuing to face furloughs, layoffs, and pay reductions.
The failure to fully fund public higher education will continue to encourage students, our members and other employees to leave the state of Illinois. The economies in Charleston, Macomb, Carbondale, DeKalb, University Park, Champaign/Urbana, Edwardsville, Bloomington and Chicago will continue to be significantly damaged by the stubbornness of a Governor who refuses to put the needs of the state he was elected to lead above his own ideology.
Illinois public higher education institutions are a vital economic engine to the state. The Governor needs to stop playing games with the state budget and stop holding our students’ hostage. The lack of a fully funded budget for higher education only further threatens the state’s economic and civil future.
We will continue to demand full funding for our institutions and students by continuing our campaign. In the next few weeks, you will see an intensification of this campaign to further demand that our students and institutions receive funding now and increases in future years. We will need your help to make this campaign successful. Contact your Chapter President or myself to help us fight for full funding.
President, University Professionals of Illinois