Union staff negotiate wage raise


Acting President Lisa Freeman delivered her State of the University address 3 p.m. Sept 20 in Altgeld.

By Michael Urbanec

Dekalb- While some unionized employees will see a 3 percent wage increase in their upcoming paychecks, others are still in the midst of negotiations with university officials.

Acting President Lisa Freeman announced the 3 percent wage increase Sept. 21, which was approved during a Oct. 19 Board of Trustees meeting. However, for unionized employees, the raise was something their unions would have to negotiate for them.

Under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, a wage increase must be negotiated via collective bargaining so as to not incur a violation.

“A university is its people, and we are committed to addressing their concerns, especially their expectations for raises,” according to a Nov. 14 press release.

The school’s bargaining team has signed a memo of understanding with the United Faculty Alliance, who represents tenure and tenure-track faculty.

Both sides have agreed “that all faculty who meet the start-date eligibility requirements will participate in the 3 percent salary increment,” according to the press release.

NIU officials have also come to a tentative agreement for a multi-year deal with the University Professionals of Illinois, which represents the school’s full-time instructors. The agreement is pending approval from the Board of Trustees, and if approved, the 3 percent raise will be enacted retroactive to Thursday.

Agreements for contract extensions have also been reached with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399, which represents heating plant engineers, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 963, which represents health service workers. The extension for the engineers was approved Oct. 19, and the agreement for health service workers will be presented to the Board of Trustees Thursday.

While a tentative agreement for the 3 percent raise has been reached with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1890, the union representing paraprofessionals, negotiations are still ongoing to complete the rest of their contract.

The wage increase will apply without negotiation to Teamsters Local 330, which represents transportation workers, Metropolitan Alliance-Police Chapter 414, which represents security guards, and Metropolitan Alliance-Police Chapter 292, which represents police sergeants. The increase was passed because of pass-through language in their existing contracts.

Negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 963, for building service workers and dining service workers, are in the beginning stages, and Metropolitan Alliance-Police 291, for police officers, is in arbitration.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, which represents grounds workers and route drivers, and the Metropolitan Alliance-Police Chapter 675, which represents telecommunicators, have yet to discuss contract renewals or extensions.

“There are different pathways to addressing pay issues,” according to the press release. “We are using these differing pathways to reach agreements on pay issues for employees across all of our workforce.”