No cooperation

In July, Northern Illinois University distributed raises to employees not represented by unions. Those raises included across the board, merit, and catch-up monies. Unionized employees had to depend on negotiations “in good faith” between their unions and management in order to receive their raises.

Nearly five months have passed and some NIU employees still have not received their raises—a clear case of discrimination against union members.

AFSCME 3389, the union representing Library Technical Assistants and other NIU personnel, has met with anything but good faith in their attempts to negotiate a wage equity for their membership. They have received nebulous and conflicting data and response in obvious attempts to delay negotiations and undermine the effectiveness of the union.

The management’s anti-union sentiment is obvious. What is not obvious and should be pointed out, I believe, is that in pursuing this anti-union sentiment, the management of NIU is really creating a divisive, inefficient, and frustrating discriminatory atmosphere for the personnel that are expected to “pull together” and make this university work.

The face of unions is a political and legal issue. The treatment of employees should be a concern to all involved in fair-minded and wise management. A university is only as good as the faculty and staff that serve it.

We constantly read that “good” faculty and staff are lost due to poor or unequal wage standards. This is a chance for those involved in the management of NIU to put aside the issues of discrimination, regarding pro- or anti-union sentiment, and exert pressure on mediators to resolve the inequality of wages for the people that still work for this university.

Kristine Ohman

Graduate student

Library Information and Studies