On Monday, the bargaining team introduced proposals for meaningful salary increases for all SEIU 73 workers. After 8 months, we saw progress for the first time. This movement came after over 50 members from across UIC showed up to bargaining during their lunch hour to tell the administration what a raise would mean for us and our communities.
Management walked out before we began, but members didn’t back down and made the room our own. When management returned that afternoon–to our room that was now decorated with our signs, we were able to reach our first tentative agreement! Management agreed to the union’s counter proposal that would give the union and its members up to a year to advance a grievance to the next level, rather than the 60 days that management proposed.
We’re encouraged that UIC showed a willingness to move forward. This is an example of what can happen when we stand united across all four contracts in our fight for a fair contract. Click here to find out how you can join us.
On Monday, we sent a clear message about two things:
- We will not watch from the sidelines while management attempts to divide us and waste our time. “We are tired of being pitted against each other and treated differently based on our contract. If UIC truly wants to be the institution that you say you want to be, then you have the duty to treat all your workers equally,” said Kerry Davis, Financial Aide Administrator and clerical bargaining team member.
- We want a contract that will be transformational, not just for us and our families, but for the future of UIC. The fight for equitable pay isn’t just about making ends meet, it’s also about ensuring that UIC fulfill its promise to provide quality health care and a quality higher education to people across Illinois. That’s why the economic proposals that we introduced incorporate the following principles:
- UIC Must Lead: UIC workers should be making wages and salaries above the market rate. This means offering competitive rates so that we are recruiting and retaining quality people. It also means that UIC should be offering workers at least $15 an hour. The current starting wage for Building Service Workers at UIC is $12.65 per hour. If McDonalds can pay their workers a minimum wage of $15 per hour, why can’t UIC?
- Pay Structure Equity: Every worker deserves annual salary step increases, honoring their experience on the job and their commitment to UIC. Good employers reward experience on the job and commitment to their institution: annual steps are the primary way of achieving this.
- Honor Education: Certifications or advanced degrees relevant to one’s field makes one better at their job. That is the point of education. What does it say when an educational institution does not offer its workers premium pay for earning certifications or advanced degrees in their field?
- Workers’ Gains Must Be Maintained: Finally, there must be regular, annual across-the-board raises so as not to diminish workers’ economic gains and to make up for their past sacrifices. In fact, many workers have gone over a year without increases since the contract expired. To make workers whole for their past sacrifices and to keep up with the rising cost of living requires across-the-board raises for all workers for every year of the contract.
“We want to bring both sides together to make UIC a leader in health care and higher education. Workers walked into negotiations with these principles to show UIC that we mean business. We’re ready to move forward in a meaningful way. Every job and service we provide matters. We will use our collective power to win for our families and communities,” said Dian Palmer, SEIU Local 73 President.
Our fight is only just beginning. That’s why we need you to get involved. Click here to find out what you can do!