Northern Illinois University and union officials have agreed to a tentative three-percent pay increase for more than 600 clerical, administrative and paraprofessional employees.
Acting NIU President Lisa Freeman announced last month in her State of the University address that she would pursue a university-wide increase for eligible employees not in open union contracts. That proposal will be presented to the NIU Board of Trustees on Thursday.
NIU officials say the tentative agreement still is subject to ratification by both parties. AFSCME spokeswoman Sara Dorner says the tentative agreement is binding since both parties signed off on it, but it won’t actually go into effect until a whole contract is agreed upon.
But Dorner criticized the size of the increase.
“Three percent is not enough,” she said. “It is a meager increase for this group. The average increase for this unit would be $0.44 an hour with a three-percent increase, but it is a start.”
Freeman previously had said she’s aware that a bigger pay increase is needed, but three percent “is a start.”
Dorner says she plans to ask the board to implement the wage increase immediately.
“It would be a huge sign of good faith on the university’s part, she said, “and a step in the right direction as far as building labor relations and relationships with their employees in general.”
Dorner says she appreciates that no other conditions were attached to the tentative agreement by NIU officials.
University labor officials have said that not including employees in open union contracts in the across-the-board university pay increase was meant to honor negotiations and not exclude those workers.
There are 19 employee unions at NIU representing 960 employees. About a dozen union contracts are open at this time.