Current and former higher education employees belonging to bargaining units represented by unions affiliated with the Illinois Education Association (IEA) will receive more than $1.7 million in owed salary from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC).

That outcome became official today, when the SIUC president announced the school’s administration will not appeal a judge’s decision that the previous university administration acted illegally during a 2011 contract dispute. In December, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board had affirmed the judge’s ruling.

The money is owed to more than 1,500 current and former employees who belong to bargaining units represented by IEA-affiliated unions.

“We’re proud of the role IEA has played in helping to make sure these higher education employees receive what they were promised, by contract, by the university,” said IEA President Cinda Klickna. “This is the right decision for the employees and for SIUC. It allows everyone to make a clean break with the past and focus on the future.

In a news release issued today, Randy Dunn, who took over as SIU President in 2014, said he made the decision not to appeal the finding following consultation with the executive committee of the SIU Board of Trustees.

“A lengthy appeal could lead to significant additional costs,” Dunn said. “There are obviously multiple sides and perspectives to any issue, but it makes sense for us to close the page on this difficult period and look forward to the future in partnership with all of our faculty and staff.”

Dunn said the university has a number of details to work through to identify current and past employees who are eligible for the payments. The total costs for reimbursing employees in the three groups for the days, with interest, is likely to exceed $1.7 million, he said.

In a ruling issued last July, Judge Colleen Harvey found that the former administration at SIU illegally pushed “to the point of impasse” three unions affiliated with the Illinois Education Association: the Association of Civil-service Employees (ACsE), the SIU Faculty Association (FA) and the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association (NTTFA).

Read more about that ruling.

SIUC announcement report from the Southern Illinoisan