University of Illinois Employee Unions Hold Rally
By Sean Powers
Union leaders representing workers on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus held a rally Thursday to reach out to students and parents during move-in day.
There about 10 different unions that are in the process of negotiating new contracts with the university.
Ricky Baldwin with SEIU Local 73 said the university needs to create more jobs and offer higher wages for union workers. He said he hopes that is something parents and students returning to campus recognize.
“Well, this is their university, too,” Baldwin said. “They’re spending their money, and they deserve to know what it’s being spent on. It’s not being spent on us for the most part.”
The State currently owes the University of Illinois more than $220 million.
U of I spokesman Robin Kaler said the university is looking at other funding sources, such as philanthropy, to support workers and offer fair contracts.
“Those things can take time, and we want to make sure that we are addressing all the issues fairly, carefully, and within the resources we have available,” Kaler said.
As those conversations continue, Visiting Academic Professionals reached a tentative agreement this month with the University of Illinois on a new contract after more than a year of talks.