UI clerical workers protest for back pay, wage increases


Sydney Laput

Joshua Hollingsead holds a sign, “Fair contract now,” during the protest outside of the Illini Union on Wednesday. The protest was organized by AFSCME Local 3700 demanding back pay and wage increase from the University.

By Matt Novelli, Lika Lezhava and Willie Cui

Dressed in green attire, members of Local 3700 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees trade union demonstrated outside of the Illini Union on April 13 ahead of a bargaining session with the University, which took place later that day and resulted in a tentative agreement for a three-year contract between the union and the University.

The union, which represents various clerical workers and office staff employed by the University and the University of Illinois Extension, has not had a contract with the University since the previous one ended in August 2021.

Support the Daily Illini in College Media Madness!

Help the Daily Illini take back the top spot in the College Media Madness fundraising competition! See the current ranking here.

learn more
donate now

The union has been in bargaining with the University “for months now,” according to Lisa Kelly, an office support associate at the University and member of AFSCME Local 3700.

In particular, the union wanted the new contract to include eight months of back pay to account for the time since their last contract ended.

“We are trying to get, first of all, retro pay back to when the contract ended in August, which they have consistently refused to try to give us,” said Greg Brannan, president of AFSCME Local 3700.

Later in the evening, the University and AFSCME Local 3700 reached a tentative agreement “for a three-year agreement retroactive to August 22, 2021,” according to Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for Public Affairs at the University.

Additionally, the union wanted wage increases and longevity raises for workers at the University Extension.

“We’re trying to get (workers at the University of Illinois Extension) a decent raise and get them longevity raises as well going forward so that we’re not in this situation the next time,” Brannan said.

According to Kaler, the tentative agreement included “meaningful increases for childcare providers and Extension workers.”

Kelly noted that some University employees covered by union’s bargaining “are working at poverty wages.”

“We have workers who go out into the community to teach about SNAP benefits, and they themselves are on SNAP benefits because of what they’re paid by the University,” Kelly said. “I’m talking about Extension workers. They’re out in the community, all over Illinois — they’re the face of the University, and yet we can’t pay them enough that they don’t have to be on food stamps.”


[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]