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Local

Northern Illinois University support workers' contract approved

Union representative calls talks ‘a huge success’

Sara Dorner, spokeswoman for American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council Union 31, which includes the Local 963 members who serve food, clean the buildings and generally maintain the campus speaks during the public comment portion of the board's meeting Thursday in Altgeld Hall on the Northern Illinois University campus.
Sara Dorner, spokeswoman for American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council Union 31, which includes the Local 963 members who serve food, clean the buildings and generally maintain the campus speaks during the public comment portion of the board's meeting Thursday in Altgeld Hall on the Northern Illinois University campus.

DeKALB – The Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with the school’s support staff union Thursday morning.

“We consider this a huge success,” said Sarah Dorner, spokeswoman for American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 31. “This is a huge success story for the workers because we’re stronger than we’ve been in a very long time.”

The school’s janitorial staff and dining service workers have had a union, Local 963, in some form, since 1952. They’re now slated to get a 9 percent pay raise over the five-year contract – 3 percent in each of the next 3 years.

Dorner said negotiations finished Aug. 14, about two weeks before the contract was ratified Aug. 28.

Dorner said that, after the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, nonunion members would not be required to pay fees to public sector unions, and that having a “strong collective bargaining agreement” is a significant victory for workers.

Dorner, who also said the support staff union is growing in membership, has expressed relief that negotiations with NIU are wrapped up for the next five years. Local 1890, made up of about 600 NIU clerical and administrative professionals, had its first collective bargaining agreement with the university approved by the board in May.

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