Board ratifies union contract after 2 years of negotiations


Members of the United Faculty Alliance applaud the ratification of the union’s contract.

By Northern Star Staff

DeKALB — After two years of negotiations, tenured and tenure-track faculty will receive across-the-board salary increases, layoff protections and workload guarantees. 

The United Faculty Alliance’s contract was ratified Thursday at the Board of Trustees meeting.

The contract applies to all tenured or tenure-track professors with certain exclusions, like department chairs and school directors. It will remain in effect until June 2022, when it can either be renegotiated fully, selectively or renewed.

The contract includes a $500,000 per year fund to address salary compression and inversion found in the University’s 2015-2016 Faculty Salary Study.

Salary compression occurs when the difference between the salary of new tenure-track hires and the salary of senior professors decreases. A new tenure-track hire’s salary exceeding a senior professor’s is an inversion.

The study found salary compression to be widespread across NIU.

Faculty Senate President Kendall Thu said his father organized a collective bargaining unit at the college he had taught at, giving special importance to the ratification.

“I want to congratulate [NIU] President [Lisa] Freeman and your leadership team in … getting the collective bargaining agreement in place,” Thu said. “I know you played an important role, and I want to thank my colleagues in the union, particularly the bargaining team.”

Thu thanked the team for the years it spent negotiating with the administration.

“It’s a good day for NIU,” he said.

The ratification follows a Sept. 12 Board of Trustees meeting when members of the United Faculty Alliance demanded an end to negotiations during the meeting’s public comments section.

“This is a special board meeting in every sense of the word,” NIU President Lisa Freeman said. “The incredible value of our faculty cannot be overstated.”

Chairperson Dennis Barsema echoed Freeman’s comments on the importance of faculty.

“What are the strengths of NIU?” Barsema said. “At the top of that list is our faculty.”