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NIU Clerical Bargaining Unit Members Looking At Legal Rights To Strike

Katie Finlon
File photo: Protestors march in the turn-around outside Altgeld Hall on the NIU DeKalb campus during a protest in November.

A clerical bargaining unit at Northern Illinois University still doesn’t have an initial union contract with NIU after their negotiations meeting earlier this week. That’s after more than two years of talks.

The more than 600 members of AFSCME Local 1890 are now looking at their legal rights to strike, according to union spokeswoman Sara Dorner.

Dorner says that’s a different approach than the union's original plan. Clerical, administrative and paraprofessional workers planned to picket on NIU’s DeKalb campus every Monday at noon until they have an initial contract.

“We don’t want anything more than what anyone else has,” Dorner said. “We just need some sort of acknowledgement from the university that this group has gone more than seven years without wage increases.”

Dorner says the lack of an initial contract happened during Equal Pay for Women Day.

“That’s the day that NIU told our predominantly-female bargaining unit, the majority of the women on campus, that they do not deserve the same benefits as the other units,” Dorner said.

NIU officials confirmed that both parties are meeting with a mediator. They say they plan on continuing negotiations every Monday until they reach an agreement.

NIU officials declined releasing details of negotiations, saying they are not looking to bargain through the press.

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