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Job ID: 224933

Director of Academic Employee and Labor Relations (4554)
Northern Illinois University

Date Posted Nov. 3, 2023
Title Director of Academic Employee and Labor Relations (4554)
University Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL, United States
Department Exec V P and Provost
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Director/Manager
  • Legal


The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost plans to hire a new Director of Academic Employee and Labor Relations starting January 16, 2024. This position reports directly to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and is primarily responsible for the administration of the academic employee and labor relations program. The Director is responsible for representing the University as the chief negotiator for Northern Illinois University (NIU) during collective bargaining and during hearings and/or arbitrations for the United Faculty Alliance and the University Professionals of Illinois agreements, as well as any successor or additional agreements which represent academic personnel. The Director is responsible for developing and maintaining positive relationships with faculty, union representatives, academic units, and with the chief negotiator for the State Civil Service contracts at NIU.
NIU values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We expect candidates to equally value these principles and to serve as active participants and allies in working toward DEI initiatives, in particular as they relate to the faculty.

NIU is a public research university in DeKalb, an affordable and growing community that is a commutable distance from Chicago and Rockford metropolitan areas. Our 15,000+ student body is diverse, with many first-generation and racially and culturally diverse students. NIU prides itself on student-centered approaches to teaching and research, and has social mobility, equity, and inclusion at the heart of its mission. Recently, NIU was nationally recognized as a top college for diversity and LGBTQ+ students and has been named one of the Great Colleges to Work For two years in a row. The proximity of DeKalb to Chicago provides easy access to Chicago’s research and technology corridor, the arts and extensive nature preserves and parks.

Position Summary

The Director of Academic Employee and Labor Relations must negotiate, draft, and administer collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) for both academic unions, as assigned. The Director must also provide guidance and counsel to senior leadership and management over academic units in employment/labor areas and conduct fact finding investigations, respond to requests for information, enforce grievance procedures and represent the University at grievance hearings, appeals, mediations/arbitrations, and unfair labor practice proceedings. Policy development, committee membership, educational programming, and training of academic units are also essential responsibilities of this position.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Collective Bargaining Agreement and Related Contract Administration
    • Interpret collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), memoranda of understanding (MOU) with unions and other labor contract provisions to ensure compliance and effective management of the contracts in accordance with the rules, policies, and procedures of Northern Illinois University, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB), and applicable state and federal employment and labor laws;
    • Represent the University at hearings, arbitrations, and/or confidential staff investigations/meetings, regarding misconduct, and/or violations under/of collective bargaining agreements;
    • Work collaboratively with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Office of General Counsel to provide guidance and counsel to academic units on matters such as performance management, progressive discipline, conflict prevention, resolution strategies and contract obligations;
    • Manage the grievance administration process and procedures in accordance with applicable CBAs.
Labor Relations
  • Coach, educate, and advise senior leadership on labor laws, collective bargaining strategies and pertinent legislation related to academic labor relations;
  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with faculty, union representatives, and academic units;
  • Supervise and manage support staff as assigned;

Collective Bargaining
  • Serve as chief negotiator for the University during collective bargaining with academic unions (including University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) with approximately 225 non-tenure Instructors and United Faculty Alliance (UFA) with approximately 550 tenure-track and tenured faculty members) and those as assigned;
  • Serve as chief negotiator for the University during collective bargaining with non­academic unions as assigned;
  • Negotiate and draft collective bargaining agreements, addendums, memorandums, and other documents associated with the negotiation or resolution process;
  • Provide guidance and develop effective wage proposal packages during bargaining sessions.

Minimum Required Qualifications (SPS)

  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • Experience in labor relations.

Preferred Qualifications (SPS)

  • Juris Doctorate or advanced degree;
  • Experience in academic labor relations at a public college/university comparable to NIU;
  • Experience leading negotiations during academic collective bargaining in a research university setting;
  • Experience with grievance proceedings, alternative dispute resolution, and dealing with information requests from unions;
  • Knowledge of the Illinois Employment Labor Relations Act (IELRA) and/or the Illinois Employment Labor Relations Board (IELRB), and/or current trends in labor relations;
  • Experience conducting compensation analysis;
  • Demonstrated commitment and experience infusing DEI into daily practice of labor relations, including experience developing, implementing and evaluating DEI initiatives.

Physical demands/requirements

  • Regular office related duties
  • Sitting for extended periods of time
  • Using computer/electronic equipment for extended periods of time
  • Occasional lifting and moving items weighing up to 25 lbs.

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