Faculty at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) say their pay hasn’t kept up with inflation for years, and are asking the Iowa Board of Regents for nearly 10% raises to make up for it.
United Faculty UNI, which represents around 500 professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and adjunct professors at the Regents university in Cedar Falls, presented its initial bargaining proposal to representatives for the state, UNI, and Regents on Friday.
Faculty are asking for 9.96% wage increases across the board, saying salaries haven’t kept up with inflation since 2014.
“These salary requests aren’t arbitrary or far-fetched,” said United Faculty President Dr. Becky Hawbaker, in a statement after the meeting. “These reflect the very real compensation shortfalls UNI faculty have been experiencing in the last decade, and especially in the last year.”
The union said wages had only risen an average of 4% since the 2013-14 academic year, nearly a decade ago, while at similarly sized institutions salaries rose an average of 19.6% in the same time frame.
Meanwhile, inflation rose an average of 2.45% per year since 2013. Inflation particularly accelerated in the last few years, but under their current two-year contract—which expires July 1—UNI faculty were given 1.3% raises.
The state countered with raises of 3% for United Faculty members. That’s certainly better than the last contract, United Faculty vice president Dr. Christopher Martin said, but it doesn’t come close to making up for inflation hitting 6.5% in December.
“We still have a long way to go to keep up with the cost-of-living shortfalls of the past decade,” Martin said.
Wages are the only thing faculty are allowed to bargain on since the governor slashed collective bargaining rights in 2017. United Faculty is also asking for previously bargained rights to be restored so they can once again negotiate over things private unions can, like sick leave, discipline and grievance policies.
“We hope to continue discussions with the (Regents) representatives in the coming weeks to arrive at a better solution for chronically lagging salaries at UNI, and issues like sick leave for temporary faculty members,” Martin said.
by Amie Rivers
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