On Friday, May 3rd, University of Illinois building service workers, food service workers, and their allies took their fight for a dignified workplace right to the President’s doorstep. President Killeen was met by chanting and car horns honking in support of UI workers’ need for better staffing and greater investments to their workplace.
UI building service and food service workers represented by Local 73 have been negotiating their contract since this past winter but their demands have fallen on deaf ears. UI employees face serious under-staffing and an increasing workload that causes them to work beyond their capacity. Workers who have tried to meet the demands of the workplace can’t keep up and some have even experienced injuries due to the pressure. What’s worse is the university has denied employees’ claims for workers compensation.
Dining service workers are also looking to address the hardships they face as a result of their yearly layoffs. They are laid off four times a year without unemployment but still have to pay the high cost of health insurance and their pension even while unemployed. They struggle to pay for essentials like their cars, phones, and their homes. UI employees know it does not have to be this way and they’re fighting to create a healthier work environment on their campuses.
Local 73 members have been meeting with students and allies eager to support UI workers. If UI administration cannot meet workers’ demands for a fair contract by the end of July, we know we have plenty of community support to keep our fight going.