SEIU protests Board of Trustees meeting in Springfield

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By Sky Opila

SPRINGFIELD – Supporters for SEIU Local 73 were a presence at the Board of Trustees meeting in the Public Affairs Center at the Springfield campus Wednesday morning.

The group of 22 demonstrators were all there to get the board’s attention in hopes of renewing their contract at UIC. Although they are in collaboration with Chapter 119, which represents the facilities and services and food service workers on the Urbana campus, their presence was geared more towards renewing a contract with administrative, clerical and technical workers on UIC’s a campus, who have been working without a contract since August 2006.

The SEIU supporters met in Chicago at 5 a.m. and bussed down to the Springfield campus. Their presence started off peaceful and quiet as the members listened attentively to the opening comments at the board meeting. When public comment opened up, Sussan Navabi, a junior at UIC and member of Students for a Democratic Society, spoke about the issue to the board. Members of the union were unable to comment during this time because union policy does not allow them to do so during negotiation.

After her comments, the group got up and headed just outside of the Public Affairs Center and yelled out chants of “Contract is what we need, stop stalling, and give it to us UIC,” and “UI, you know, that offer was too damn low.” The protesting continued for thirty minutes or so before the group marched through the building chanting “We’re in it, ’til we win it,” as they walked to their vehicles and headed home.

For more on this story, read tomorrow’s edition of the Daily Illini.