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Nearly 650 workers at Northern Illinois University have signed a petition and filed it with the state labor board asking to unionize.

The workers want to organize under American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents other NIU employees and about 5,000 other state university workers. The 650 workers include clerical, paraprofessional, technical and administrative employees.

The Daily Chronicle reports that affected employees say they've gone years without pay increases.

NIU spokesman Bradley Hoey says university officials are aware of the workers' complaints but the school is in "challenging financial times." NIU has more than 4,000 employees and is facing a 31 percent funding cut from the state.

If NIU officials don't object to the petitions the new union could be established in coming weeks.


KC Stevens



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