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NIU May Have To Refund Parking Pass Price Hike To New Bargaining Unit

niu.edu / afscme.org

Northern Illinois University may have to reimburse some of its union-member employees for a parking pass fee increase. That’s if the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board sides with AFSCME in a final ruling.

NIU raised its parking prices by $19 as of July 2016. At the time, the university had been negotiating a first contract with a new bargaining unit of the state employee union since February 2016, according to IELRB documents.

An administrative law judge says it’s against state law for the university to make adjustments to the economic status of such employees without negotiating the changes during the bargaining. The judge issued a recommendation last week saying NIU should reimburse its clerical staff the hike in their parking pass prices.

AFSCME Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall says this affects 650 union-member employees at NIU.

“The larger issue at stake here is the respect for these workers, listening to their voice, and a respect for Illinois labor law,” Lindall said.

Lindall says the judge’s recommendation is the correct one.

“We shouldn’t continue to waste time and money on something that is not only a very clear-cut case, but simply the right thing to do,” Lindall said.

IELRB officials say both sides have 21 days to file exceptions to the recommendation. Depending on potential appeals, the board’s decision could be made in about 21 days or after several months.

If the board sides with the union and NIU has to reimburse those employees and reduce the parking pass rate, it could cost the university more than $12,000 in refunds. 

The NIU official reached by WNIJ refused to comment. Other officials were not available.