University Of Northern Iowa Contract Arbitration Decision

United Faculty's Wage Proposal Prevails

"This is a win for the educational mission of UNI.  It is an affront to the instructional mission of a university to continue to cut the salaries of those who are most responsible for delivering it while increasing salaries and bonuses for upper administration and auxilliary staff.  A university is first about knowledge and education.  Sports and advertising and beautiful light wells are nice, but not at the expense of the core mission."

Faculty Raise to be 3.5%  a year for the contract period

There will be an increase of 2.25 % on July 1, 2011; 1.25 % on Jan. 1, 2012;  There will be a 2.25 % on July 1, 2012; and 1.25 % on Jan. 1, 2013.

The Board of Regents had sought to award a 1 % raise on July 1, 2011; and then 1 % on July 1, 2012; and then a 1.50 % on Jan. 1, 2013.

The cost of living is expected to rise by just over 3 % next year, and UNI faculty took a significant CUT in pay in the 2010 Fiscal Year, a year when UNI assets actually hit an all time high.  A "raise" of 1% would be a cut in real wages for faculty.

Health Insurance

UNI will now offer a choice of health insurance plans, including the current plan and provide a dental-insurance option for faculty who choose it (that has some improvements).  However, employer-provided life insurance will be reduced to 1.5 times budgeted salary. 

The two new plans that faculty can choose from are

1. PPO "preferrred provider organization".  This plan will have a much higher out of pocket max than the current plan and larger deductibles.  There is a difference in co-pays and co-insurance if one goes to an out of network provider.  This kind of plan does not require referrals from physicians to see specialists (one can self refer to Mayo or U of I, for example). Information has been posted at the Human Resources website. Having posted a link to this website information, it should be noted that some of the Questions/Answers could posted there could be seen as slightly misleading, or incomplete.  Be sure and see UF Blog Site starting March 31th.

I know some people frown on Wikipedia, but it has a fairly clear overview of what a PPO is :

Here is another link that might be helpful:

2. An HMO plan. The "Blue Advantage" plan is a HMO. An HMO plan requires referrals from a designated primary care physician before getting health care elsewhere. The HMO is  significantly less expensive in terms of premiums, but choice is limited.

BOTH plans would have a different way of paying for pharmaceuticals than the current plan (which remains an option for faculty currently at UNI).  The new plans will have different copays depending on the type of drug (called a "tiered drug plan.") The new plans offered will be four tiered coverage.   Here is a Welllmark website that has information about the tiers.  Click on Wellmark Drug List.  You can type in your drug name and find out what the co-pay would be if you chose a new plan.    Details will follow, but the cost of drugs would no longer be part of the out of pocket maximum.

Current faculty may keep current coverage with no changes. More information will be added.  The new plans will not be available until July 1.

Overview HERE --The first column "UNI Health"  refers to the current plan as it is now.  Note :  current health plan does not have new dental coverage as an option.


UNION wins right to Grieve as an Organization : UF has had unusual impediment to contract enforcement. This will be corrected.

UNI-United Faculty will now be able to file as an organization when the contract is violated.  As noted by the arbitrator, a union must be able to (and is expected to) enforce the contract, even if individual faculty are hesitant to sign off for fear of retribution or other reasons.  This is an important win and a needed change. 

Workload and Overload Compensation

Some faculty have been assigned higher teaching loads than their peers for multiple and varied reasons.  This has led to inequality and exploitation. UNI has been alone in its peer institutions by not specifying load and not specifying a means where overload can be compensated.  We expect continues progress on this front in future contracts, but this is a huge step forward to solving a problem that has been growing and has bred much malcontent. To help ensure that teaching activities will be appropriately recognized and to increase communication about work load assignments across departments and through out the university, work load will be defined as twelve credit hours with the understanding that normally nine hours are for teaching and three are for scholarly work and service. Faculty members who are assigned and agree to more than this will receive overload compensation. If a department relies on any non-standard instructional activities to deliver its curriculum to its majors, an equivalency description must be distributed to United Faculty.  This agreement specifically states that Continuing Education courses are not part of  and not affected by the agreement.


Faculty raises associated with obtaining tenure and obtaining Full professorship will increase.


  Why this matters:  UNI has been comparatively very low on this (documented during negotiations). We are still low, but this is a significant improvement.

 Attain Tenure–raise increased from $1950 to $2500; then in Year two of contract --  increased to $2800.

  Promoted to Full Professor: from $2350 to $3000 year one; then by year two – increased to $3300.



Coverage Links


KWWL top story on March 15: