DeKALB – Northern Illinois University faculty will receive a 9% pay raise over the next three years as part of a four-year union contract approved by union members and NIU’s Board of Trustees.
The contract was signed Thursday, according to a news release from the United Faculty Alliance, which represents more than 500 tenured faculty at NIU’s six colleges and is a chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois. With members advocating for wage increases, fair workloads for professors and clearer academic policies, the union and trustees previously reached a tentative agreement in September after two years of bargaining and a public appeal to the board from a standing-room only crowd of union members Sept. 12.
In a collective statement, the union members expressed their thanks to the NIU board for upholding the university’s mission and working to “preserve academic freedom.”
“Our new contract protects our workload so that faculty have the freedom, time and funding to conduct important research and give our students access to excellent learning opportunities,” according to the union statement. “After a decade with minimal raises the salary provisions will help NIU attract and retain top academics.”
The Board also approved paid family leave for faculty members needing time off to welcome a new baby, the first time the university has offered that benefit, according to the statement.
The contract also mandates that all union members will have minimum salary requirements: $60,000 for assistant professors, $65,000 for associate professors and $75,000 for full professors. Beginning in the academic year 2020 through 2022, members will receive a 3% raise for the next three years on their base pay.
The contract includes goals by the union such as “protecting a workload that allows a balance between instruction and research, preserves academic freedom and maintain faculty input in classroom-related decision making,” according to the release.
In a statement issued by the university, NIU President Lisa Freeman said she was pleased by the agreement and that negotiations from start to finish were thoughtful from both sides.
“The incredible value of our faculty cannot be overstated,” according to Freeman’s statement. “Their research, artistry, scholarship, compassion and dedication for our students an commitment to our mission, vision and values is immeasurable. Their diverse talents and expertise positive contribute to our region, nation and our global society.”