CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A judge for the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board found the administration for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale acted illegally during a 2011 contract dispute.
The judge directed the university to pay around $1.9 million to more than 1,500 current and former employees.
In 2010, SIU's Chancellor Rita Cheng said despite cost saving efforts, another $2.6 million still needed to be cut to balance the budget.
"This can be achieved with four days from every employee that equals 1.53 percent of everybody salary," Cheng said in 2011.
The university can appeal the ruling.
In a statement released by SIUC, they say they are aware of the recommended decision and order, but that it is not the final order.
They say the university is currently considering its legal options, which include a review of the recommendation.
"The university respectfully disagrees with the ALJ's recommendations, as the university believes they do not reflect the extensive nature of bargaining and did not adequately consider the university's extremely difficult budget situation."
In the statement, the university said at the time of the negotiations, they were experiencing several imminent financial issues, including a budget shortfall.
They say furlough/unpaid closure days, along with many other cost-cutting measures, assisted the university in closing a budget gap for fiscal year 2011. The university said they worked in good faith to negotiate furlough days with unions across campus and was able to reach agreements with most unions to avoid layoffs for members covered by the agreements.