On May 1, International Workers’ Day, members of SEIU Local 73 joined thousands in Chicago to resist racism and fight for worker and racial justice in Chicago and across Illinois.
Prior to taking part in the mass May Day march and rally, Local 73 members at the University of Illinois at Chicago took action to fight back against the discriminatory treatment they face in contract negotiations at Chicago’s largest public university. The approximately 4,000 clerical, professional, service and maintenance, and technical workers at UIC organized two midday rallies.
Time and time again, university management has failed to treat UIC employees, a predominately minority workforce, equal to the same type of workers in Champaign-Urbana, a predominately Caucasian workforce. After months of unfair and unequal treatment in contract negotiations, the group has seen enough and chose May Day to fight back.
“This is about saying no to racial injustice,” said Jeffrey McCaster, a building service worker at UIC. “Offering less to our group at UIC that is 85% people of color than they offered to workers in Champaign-Urbana who do the same jobs and 2 of every 3 are white is wrong. We will be joining the resistance on May Day to fight back because all workers deserve justice.”
Along with the rallies at UIC, Local 73 members throughout Chicago Public Schools organized rallies before school at Hanson Park and Mollison Elementary Schools to fight for proper funding for Chicago schools and to demand an end to the political games being played with Chicago’s children.
“Despite the limited resources available, constant fear of having to dodge bullets, and the fear of being deported and their families being ripped apart, our children brave every day at the chance of a future,” said Steven Cain, a custodian at Lincoln Elementary School. “Our children need proper funding in our schools to be the next great generation of doctors, teachers, lawyers, and leaders.”