UPI Response to Fwd: Furlough program to begin during Spring Break

Dear UPI:

The administration’s implementation of furloughs has not been agreed to by the union, and would thus break the Collective Bargaining Agreement if realized over Spring Break. We will remain in negotiation and in communication with the administration.

But now we must also consider how we, in response, might refuse to fulfill our obligations under the contract as well.

I want to ask that all union members teaching this semester immediately stop using D2L to record grades. Please transfer your grades to paper or to a device not owned by the State of Illinois so we can maintain control of our work.

I hope to see everyone next Thursday and I also want everyone to hold on and not panic. I mean it: we are going to be alright.

We have been taking steps toward a response to the budget crisis already–we have plans in place, multiple strategies that we can choose among–and we have broad support across the state and in the city.

We are going to work through this challenge and fight for a resolution to Rauner’s continuing attempts to destroy higher education in Illinois.

In solidarity,


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Richard J. Helldobler
Date: Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 12:30 PM
Subject: Furlough program to begin during Spring Break

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TO: University Community

FROM: Richard J. Helldobler, Interim President

DATE: March 3, 2017

RE: Furlough program to begin during Spring Break

During the week of Northeastern’s Spring Break, Monday, March 20, through Sunday, March 26, the University will close, and all employees — including those represented by collective bargaining units — will be on furlough for five days. The University will be officially closed with minimal staffing for public safety and operational continuity. The salary loss for five furlough days will be spread over five weeks of pay.

The Spring Break closure will have the least impact on instruction. Additionally, there are modest energy savings with a shutdown, allowing for HVAC in buildings that contain research animals.

If governmental leaders in Springfield do not put an end to this budget crisis soon, Northeastern will be forced to require furlough days on top of the five during Spring Break. If the University receives adequate state funding before Spring Break we will hit pause on the program and determine our next steps.

Student appointments will be terminated prior to the implementation of this furlough, in accordance with a new Civil Service Furlough rule, which provides exceptions for student appointments required for health and welfare or public safety, or appointments that are part of a student’s financial aid or for academic credit. Students covered by these exceptions may work during the Spring Break furlough and will be so notified. Additionally, extra-help workers’ employment will also be terminated at the start of Spring Break.

The University continues to negotiate the furlough program with its collective bargaining units. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document about furloughs will be available early next week.

On Tuesday at 3:05 p.m., I will host an Open Discussion for all members of the University Community. It will take place in Alumni Hall and will be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend in person. There will be an opportunity to ask questions during the event. As always, you are invited to submit questions or comments through our University Feedback form at neiu.edu/feedback.

These are incredibly challenging and unprecedented times for Northeastern. The fact that this will put a strain on your own personal finances is not lost on me. As I mentioned before, the decision to implement a furlough program was not made lightly and was a last resort to keep our doors open until our next infusion of cash this fall. I thank you for your continued commitment to Northeastern and our students. I sincerely appreciate your dedication and sacrifice.