To: the members of the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
From: The Members of the Graduate Employees Organization, Illinois Federation of Teachers/American Federation of Teachers, Local 6300 (GEO)
We, the members of the Graduate Employees Organization, Illinois Federation of Teachers/American Federation of Teachers, Local 6300 (GEO), stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers of the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (SEIU Local 73), in their struggle for a good contract.
SEIU Local 73 is asking for wage increases tied to inflation, and is trying to maintain staffing levels of full-time, permanent employees.
The Administration, claiming a difficult financial situation, wants to freeze wages, and eliminate permanent food service and facilities employees, replacing them with temporary workers or outside contractors. At the same time, the University is planning to raise students’ tuition by nearly 7% in Fall–an increase that will, if the recent past is any indication, go to funding a bloated administration.
The UIUC Administration is asking workers and students to share the sacrifice, while administrators get raises.
The GEO stands with SEIU Local 73, and calls on the UIUC negotiating team to stop the months of stalling and agree to the SEIU’s contract proposals.
We call on the University system and State of Illinois to settle their back payments issues, and fully fund education in the state of Illinois.
We say it is time for the spending priorities of the University to reflect its founding mission — “Learning and Labor” — rather than its recent unofficial attitude to its employees of “Learning to Labor for Less.”
If the UIUC Negotiating team does not bargain with SEIU Local 73, and forces SEIU Local 73 to take strike action on April 18, as the members of SEIU Local 73 have indicated they are willing to do, the members of the GEO will support the sisters and brothers of SEIU Local 73, just as members of SEIU Local 73 supported us during our strike in 2009. The GEO does not support a wildcat strike or withholding labor in any way, but GEO members will join the SEIU picket lines in solidarity in their free time.
The members of SEIU Local 73 are fighting for the future of public employees in the state of Illinois, just as hundreds of thousands did in Wisconsin earlier this year.
As GEO members stands with public employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere, we stand in solidarity with our fellow public employees here at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The Members of the GEO