Civil Service Unions

The NIU Civil Service workforce has unions representing a wide range of classifications campus wide as well as each of the regional campuses. The unions are the exclusive representative for the classifications recognized in the collective bargaining agreements, specifically regarding wages, hours, and conditions of employment.

Employee and Labor Relations has developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to assist in answering questions from newer union members, as well as regular questions from current union members, regarding how membership in a union affects their employment at NIU.

For additional information, please contact Jesse Perez, Director of Employee and Labor Relations, at

Collective Bargaining Agreements


International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOP)


Metropolitan Alliance of Police (MAP)

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA)

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I respond to an employee's request to participate in union activity during work hours (meetings, rallys, etc)?

A request to leave the workplace during regular hours to participate in union activity during work hours (meetings, rallys, etc.) is subject to operational needs (as determined by their supervisor) and departmental policy. This is similar to requests by employee's to participate in other activity during work hours such as meetings and/or university related activity.

The employee must seek advanced supervisory permission and can utilize their break time, benefit time, or compensatory time to attend to the union activity which is typically outside the scope of the duties assigned by their supervisor. Departments are advised not to decline approval for absence based on the type of activity to which the employee is seeking to attend.

What does it mean to be represented by a union?

It means that the union negotiates the wages, hours and terms and conditions of your employment collectively. You may no longer negotiate those matters with university administrators (e.g., your department head, dean, etc.) on your own behalf.

Can I remove myself from the bargaining unit?

No, you cannot as long as you are in a covered position. While not all employees may wish to be represented by a union, the university generally is unable to remove an employee in a covered position from the certified bargaining unit.

If I did not sign anything and/or am opposed to being represented by a union, am I still required to be represented by the union?

Yes. The union has cited your position as part of a "community of interest," in which the majority of such a community has voted for representation. In some cases, your classification may be included as a larger group of interest, even though you may be the only person in your classification. All classifications listed in the Certification Petition are considered part of the bargaining unit and are subject to the wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment negotiated by the union on their behalf.

Will the policies and procedures of the university and/or my college remain the same?

As part of its duty to maintain the status quo concerning matters that are a mandatory subject of bargaining, the university and its colleges and departments will continue to follow existing policies and procedures with respect to matters that directly concern wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment during the period of negotiations. For example, under existing policy, units have the ability to continue providing competitive counter-offers and promotions.

I did not get to vote in an election on the question of establishing a union. Do employees have the right to vote in an election?

No. Illinois law allows a union to be selected as collective bargaining representative without an election through a "card check" procedure, which involves collecting signatures from a majority of employees in the proposed bargaining unit and submitting the signed cards, paper, or petitions to the Illinois Educational Labor Board (IELRB) to establish that a majority of the employees want the union to represent them. A majority is defined as 50 percent plus 1 of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit.

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Human Resource Services
Human Resources/Document Services Building
1515 West Lincoln Highway
P: 815-753-6000
F: 815-753-2335

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