News Local/State

SEIU To Vote on Latest Offer; Could Hold 3-Day Strike


The union representing building and food service workers at the University of Illinois' Urbana campus is voting this weekend on whether to accept the administration's latest contract offer, or hold a 3-day strike.

Service Employees International Union organizer Ricky Baldwin said progress was made in contract talks with a federal mediator Thursday, but the union still didn't get everything it wanted.

He said the union's nearly 800 workers will hold a vote Friday through Sunday. 

SEIU spokesman Adam Rosen said if the membership rejects the administration's proposal, they'll walk off the job Monday through Wednesday.

"Hopefully the the university does realize when they see more than 400 to 500 people on the picket line Monday morning starting at midnight, hopefully we'll get a call and we'll get a fair contract before the three days are over," he said.  "But if it takes all three days, then at least members can get back to work on Thursday and start earning money again and we can continue negotiations."

The union issued a 14-day intent-to-strike noice in late February.  Meanwhile, contract talks have continued, and the union submitted a new offer early this week, which is described as including a lower wage proposal than previously sought.

SEIU has also threatened to strike over retaliatory discipline against workers, and alleges the U of I illegally contracted out service employees’ work.

U of I Urbana campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the university is happy to see progress in negotiations since the union is now willing to submit its offer to members for a vote.

The SEIU plans to release results of the vote at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon.