University of Illinois Chicago healthcare workers, administration reach deal after 10-day strike

SEIU Local 73 members at University of Illinois at Chicago, which includes UI Health, have ended their 10-day strike after reaching tentative agreement with administration, according to union and hospital officials. 

The multiyear agreements cover 4,000 clerical, service and maintenance, technical, and professional workers across the Chicago campus and at UI Health, as well as the regional campuses, and UIC Specialized Care for Children. They include across-the-board pay raises for workers, including back pay; $15 per hour minimum wage for building services workers in Chicago; a personal protective equipment commitment from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker; and increased staffing, the union said in a news release. 

UIC’s contracts with SEIU bargaining units expired between August and December last year, and workers began a 10-day strike Sept. 14. Agreements were reached Sept. 23. 

“This is a victory for all working people in Illinois and shows what’s possible when workers unite and demand that employers respect us, protect us and pay us,” Dian Palmer, SEIU Local 73 president, said in a news release. “I am so proud of the Black and brown women who led this strike, who convinced their co-workers striking was worth the risk. They never gave up. They were out there at dawn every day demanding justice for essential workers. UIC called them heroes, but their pay and benefits didn’t reflect that, but UIC now understands what it means to be essential.”

Michael Amiridis, chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago and Michael Zenn, CEO of University of Illinois Hospitals and Clinics, also praised the agreement. 

“We are very pleased that we have been able to come to a tentative agreement, and we believe it is in the best interests of both the SEIU employees and the university,” they said in a joint statement next to Ms. Palmer. 

Most union members must approve the agreements before they take effect. Ratification voting meetings are scheduled next week.

 

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