Faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha received good news this month when Nebraska’s Commission on Industrial Relations upheld an arbitrator’s decision to award 3.8 percent annual pay raises for the next two years to faculty in the AAUP collective bargaining chapter there. The commission also upheld an increase in employer-paid life-insurance benefits. The university’s board of regents had appealed the arbitrator’s decision, and the administration had proposed raises of 2.9 percent and 2.5 percent in the next two years.
During the arbitration process, both sides agreed to a salary analysis using a number of peer institutions; the comparison showed 2008–09 UNO faculty salaries to be 5.8 percent lower than those of faculty at peer institutions, a factor weighed in the arbitrator’s determination that the union’s salary proposal was reasonable. The chapter, which has represented faculty in collective bargaining since the late 1970s, currently represents nearly five hundred tenured and tenure-track faculty members. In a message responding to the win, chapter officers remarked that higher salaries and benefits “will help UNO to be more competitive in recruiting and maintaining topnotch faculty.”