UI Prepares for Possible Workers’ Strike

April 15, 2011

About 800 food service and building service employees on the Urbana campus may go on strike as early as Monday, April 18.

Members of the Service Employees International Union local 73 are demanding better pay, and urging the University to stop using lower-paid, temporary workers to cover permanent union jobs.

The two sides have been negotiating over a new contract since last June. A federal mediator was brought in last month to help facilitate the discussions.

University of Illinois spokeswoman Robin Kaler said even if workers go on strike, students should not notice any disruptions in service next week.

"We'll have management staff and other staff who will keep the operation going," Kaler said. "The dinning menus will be the same, The hours will be the same. Students will have their trash removed."

Kaler said the University will have its vendors prepare some meals normally done in house.

She also said the University has offered pay raises to union workers, and acknowledged she is confident an agreement will be reached.

SEIU members held a rally Thursday on the Urbana campus. They are expected to vote this weekend to go on strike, according to SEIU officials.

Story source: WILL