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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.”

Find Your Union Steward and Staff Representative

Staff at the local are assigned to work with specified buildings, departments and colleges of the university. These assignments may change from time to time. Please see the list below for an updated breakdown of which staff are assigned to which areas and their contact information. If you do not see your area listed below, reach out to Shea Marshall, Division Director, at

Karen Kleinhans DeSilva,

Nikki Devall,

Chief Stewards:
Michelle Barnhart – Anna Facility
Norine Cadle – Diversey Express Facility
Nick Crosby – Champaign Facility
Alan Jones – Howlett SOS Police
Pamela Muertz – Waterloo Facility
Marketta Paylor – Chicago North Facility (soon 17 N State Hearings)
Georgina Poole – 721 Kress Rd (West Chicago)
Marsha Somlar – Bloomington Facility
Tim Thornton – Howlett
Scott Zimmerman – Hearings/Joliet

You can find a complete list of all Stewards on ABE.

Last Updated: January 25, 2023

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias talks about the important work everyone does.
Local 73 President Dian Palmer talks about the challenges and needs of workers.

Share Your Story
The challenges you face every day are stories worth sharing with the state legislature. Why? They vote on the state budget which will impact our next contract. Most public officials view us as nameless and faceless state employees. By sharing your stories we can shed light on the important public services we provide to the people of Illinois. And encourage them to support a state budget that provides us with the wages and support we deserve.