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Northern Illinois University Faculty Form Union

NIU professors organize to improve teaching and learning

DEKALB, IL – Today, the Illinois Labor Relations Board (IELRB) officially certified the recently-organized faculty union at Northern Illinois University. Faculty filed its intent to unionize with the IELRB in April.

Unionization will allow NIU faculty to improve their working conditions, which are ultimately their students’ learning conditions. The faculty union will be the democratic voice for the faculty, united to defend and improve higher education in Illinois.

Faculty work directly with students every day and are in the best position to advocate for their needs. The faculty union plans on bargaining a first contract with management that will direct much needed resources to the classroom.

“With a union, we are now able to negotiate for our future, thanks to the resolve of NIU faculty," said Rosemary Feurer, Associate Professor of History at NIU. “We look forward to forming our bargaining committee, which will work in good faith to negotiate a contract fair to the faculty and the students we serve."

"We at the IFT applaud the Northern Illinois University faculty for forming a union," said Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery, a high school English teacher.  “They will continue delivering a world class education and can now raise their voices together to improve the university experience for the students they serve. Working under a Governor who seems intent on gutting higher education, these educators took an important step that will allow them to advocate for their students collectively."

"We welcome the faculty at Northern Illinois University to the University Professionals of Illinois," said John Miller, President of the University Professionals of Illinois (Local 4100). "UPI has a long tradition of working together to not only defend -- but improve -- higher education in Illinois. We commend them for their solidarity and commitment to their students."

"We are very proud and happy that the faculty at Northern Illinois University have chosen to work collectively and ensure that faculty will have a voice in the process and a seat at the table.  This voice will enhance the education delivered to students, and it will improve the working conditions for the entire campus community," said Howard Bunsis, chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress.

"Workers across the country are recognizing that the best way to have a voice on the job and financial security is to be a part of a union” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “In Illinois, in the face of Rauner’s reckless budget cuts, these higher education faculty and staff have come together to ensure they will be able to speak up for themselves and their students. We're honored that the tenure-track faculty at Northern Illinois University have chosen to join the AFT. We welcome them with open arms and look forward to working with them to reclaim the promise of higher education in Illinois.”

The name of the new union will be the United Faculty Alliance of Northern Illinois University (UFA). UFA has supporters across campus and among all ranks of tenure-line faculty. It will represent over 600 tenured and tenure-track faculty members at NIU.

UFA is affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the University Professionals of Illinois, American Federation of Teachers, and the American Association of University Professors.


Media Contact: 
Kenzo Shibata – / 312-296-0124
Publication Date: 
Monday, June 13, 2016