DeKALB — The United Faculty Alliance ratified a tentative agreement it reached with the Board of Trustees last month, according to a UFA news release sent Friday.

The tentative agreement includes paid family leave and a professional development fund that can support faculty members conducting research at the university.

The UFA, which was first recognized by the Illinois Regulation and Labor Board in June 2016, currently represents over 500 faculty members at NIU.

Eighty-seven percent of the union voted, and 99% of that 87% voted yes to ratify. The UFA is urging the Board of Trustees to ratify the contract as well, according to the release.

Ratification of a contract approves the conditions being put in the document and means one or both sides of the party want to move forward with the contract.

A statement released by the university Oct. 18 said the contract will be presented to the Board of Trustees at a special meeting Nov. 14.

“We are pleased that another important milestone in the negotiation of an initial contract between Northern Illinois University and the United Faculty Alliance has been reached,” the statement reads.

The release from the UFA states faculty union members have been bargaining for an agreement for the past two years.

“The UFA stood strong to protect a workload that allows a balance between instruction and research, preserves academic freedom and maintains faculty input in classroom-related decision-making,” the news release reads.

Union members have been negotiating for wage increases and what they argue are fairer workloads.

“Everything we have fought for, everything in our contract, will help us give our students the high-quality education they deserve,” UFA Vice President Mark Schuller said.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 11:02 a.m. to include a statement from the Board of Trustees.

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