Food, Building Service Workers Await Response on Contract Proposal
By Sean Powers
The ongoing contract talks between the University of Illinois and the union representing food and building service workers on the Urbana campus may be winding down.
The Service Employees International Union wants better wages as part of a new contract. SEIU organizer Ricky Baldwin said the union submitted a new offer on Monday for a four year deal that includes a lower wage proposal.
Under the proposal, he said hourly pay would go up by 65 cents the first year, 55 cents the second and third years, and 45 cents more during the fourth year.
“This would still actually be losing money for our folks, but it would somewhat keep up with the cost of living and that’s been our main objective,” Baldwin said.
If the university and the union fail to reach an agreement, Baldwin said workers could go on strike as early as Monday.
Meanwhile, he said there are other unresolved issues the union has with the U of I that are still on the table, including retaliatory discipline against workers, and the university allegedly contracting out service employees’ work.
The U of I said it is working on a counter proposal, and that a meeting with a federal mediator is scheduled for Thursday.