AFSCME Members March As Contract Talks Continue At U Of I
Restoration of step-pay increases is one of the goals of two union locals engaged in contract negotiations with the University of Illinois.
AFSCME Locals 3700 and 678 have been in talks with the administration since June on a new contract. The old one expired in September.
AFSCME officials say step-pay provides for automatic annual wage increases to encourage worker loyalty.
But Local 3700 President Nadja Robot reminded those attending a noon-hour rally on the Quad Tuesday that the university suspended step-pay in 2013, citing a lack of money.
“Now the administration says it wants to continue that freeze indefinitely," said Robot to a chorus of boos from the approximately 65 people at the rally. "That means that the top wage for an office support associate will be the starting wage for an office support associate.”
AFSCME Local 3700 represents clerical, Extension and child development workers on the university's Urbana camus, while AFSCME Local 678 represents technical and Professional Unit workers.
A bargaining session was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon with another session planned for later in the month.
University spokesperson Robin Kaler said in a statement that negotiators for the administration and AFSCME "have reached agreement on many items on the table, and we continue to bargain in good faith to achieve a contract that is fair to everyone involved."