The negotiation process begins when a union files an intention for bargains. Then, rounds of negotiations are planned, during which unions and employers meet to discuss the contract. Negotiations can sometimes take months or even more than a year, with collective bargaining being regular (often two weeks), depending on how difficult it is for the union and the employer to agree on the terms of the contract. The union submits a full contract proposal during the first round of negotiations. The employer then has the opportunity to request more information and either accept the contract proposed by the union or offer a counter-proposal. The union and the employer will continue to amend their proposals while discussing rationality, feasibility and other issues until they reach an agreement. At this stage, the provisional contract for revision and ratification is returned to union membership. Once the union membership has approved the contract by a vote, it will be signed and become legally binding. Eligible bargaining issues: Topics that are not mandatory negotiating topics are considered permissive, which means that both parties can negotiate, but the other party may decide not to negotiate in bad faith without negotiating partners. In many institutions, tenure jobs are disappearing or not increasing as enrolments increase. If the faculty does not have a voice in the creation of structures for jobs without tenure, either the conditions under which a growing demographic of the faculty operates occur at random, or they are created with corporate interests rather than academic ideals.
Unions give faculties a voice in discussions about how these changes occur and have the ability to negotiate collective agreements that anchor obligations in a legal document. Mediation: Mediation is a form of dispute resolution with a neutral third party, called a mediator. Mediation is mandatory at the request of one of the parties under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA). Mediators are usually called late in the negotiation process to facilitate. In early 2002, GEO organized a sit-in at the Swanlund Administration Building. Shortly thereafter, the administration agreed to meet with the union. Provoste Richard Herman, accompanied by Deputy Legal Counsel at the University Steve Veazie, agreed to a series of meetings with GEO representatives to decide the composition of the bargaining unit.  After nearly seven weeks of negotiations, geo and university officials reached an agreement on the composition of the bargaining unit.  Fair Share: Fair Share Laws allows unions to collect contributions at their operating expenses from all members of the bargaining unit, not just those who have signed membership cards.