Contract Talks at Illinois Secretary of State Begin
Contract negotiations for SEIU Local 73 represented workers with the Illinois Secretary of State began on April 26. Newly elected Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias and Local 73 President Dian Palmer were both present for initial negotiations.
“Our union was instrumental in electing Secretary Giannoulias,” said President Dian Palmer. “Our members have been speaking with him about the challenges they face since before the election. We know he understands how difficult it is for our members to serve the public with low wages and antiquated systems. We appreciate him taking the time to meet with us personally in negotiations.”
Last November, SEIU Local 73 officers toured multiple Secretary of State driver services facilities in downstate Illinois. While wages were a primary issue, every member spoke about having to switch between multiple computer systems in order to service the public.
“When someone comes in to get their drivers license and license plates renewed they don’t understand we have to process them in different computer systems. Systems that are so old, they don’t always work,” said Michelle Barnhart, Chief Steward and Bargaining Team Member. “They’re frustrated and so are we.”
“Our bargaining team includes workers from across Illinois,” said Benjamin Pfeiffer, Chief Steward and Bargaining Team Member. “We have surveyed the membership and understand what everyone wants to see in our next contract. We’re glad Secretary Giannoulias is taking this as seriously as we are.”