University workers continue picketing, union negotiations resume Feb. 1


The Daily Illini File Photo

Aaron Ammons, right, with megaphone, leads members of the Service Employees International Union Local 73 in October. While the union contract negotiations have been going on for months, this is the first picket of 2017.

By Aaron Navarro, Assistant Daytime Editor

Chanting “This University works because we do,” service union workers stood in front of the Alice Campbell Alumni Center Wednesday afternoon. 

The Service Employees International Union, SEIU, was spearheading the picket. Assistant Director of the Downstate Division at SEIU Ricky Baldwin said they were motivated by the lack of negotiated wages for the service workers.

“Right now, we have negotiated everything but the wages. The University is just being stubborn about the wages,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin said that the biggest problem with this is service workers attempting to cover increased health insurance costs, which they are not able to do with their current wages.

“In order for those people to pay for that, they’re going to need more money. That’s the biggest sticking point,” Baldwin said. “The University is saying that the health care is not in their jurisdiction, and we know that but we need more money to cover that cost. So the wages is to pay for that.”

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Baldwin said that negotiation talks will continue Wednesday, Feb 1, with a federal mediator attending.

“They have their negotiating team and we have ours. We elect our negotiation team, they have heads of different departments where our people work and some folks at staff and human resources that’ll be negotiating the contract,” Baldwin said.

In addition to their Wednesday picket, service workers will also gather at the corner of Oak and Kirby on Friday starting at 4 p.m.

“We want to do these actions this week. And then next week we want to see if it had any influence on what happens next,” Baldwin said.

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