Local unions 1110 and 3236 will gather at noon on Wednesday on the corner of College Avenue and School Street to voice their desire for a fair contract soon.
The unions are a part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). More than 500 Illinois State University employees including office support, housing, student health care, building services, ground maintenance, auto mechanics and campus dining workers are represented by the AFSCME Locals 1110 and 3236.
Several other local unions will also be at the demonstration in support of AFSCME.
While there will be an informational picket, there will not be a strike from the workers.
“We’re committed to continuing to do the services and maintain operations, but those that can we’re encouraging to come out and join us,” AFSCME Council 31 Representative Renee Nestler said.
The picket aims to call attention to slowed contract negotiations.
The contract in question expired in June 2018 and has been in negotiations since then. The 2018 contract was initially settled as a temporary one-year contract. Since then, labor relations has experienced turnover and the transition has led to slower negotiations. Since negotiations are ongoing, the previous contract continues to be in effect, and is a common occurrence, Illinois State University’s Director of Media Relations Eric Jome said.
“It’s very common with a lot of those contracts that, it will be negotiated for a certain period of time and then after that effective end date, it will continue in force until it’s renegotiated,” Jome said. “It’s not like the contract stops and all work stops.”
Several issues have yet to be settled on the bargaining table, including union rights and wages.
“One of the issues that has caused bargaining to come to a screeching halt at this point is the wages,” Nestler said. “Since we’ve started bargaining late last summer, early fall, there has been the passage of the minimum wage [raise].”
Nestler added that there has not been in-person bargaining since February for any of the groups except the healthcare providers. There have been updates, but no opportunities for in-person meetings.
Currently, each of the unions have several members making less than $15 an hour.
“By the time the minimum wage bill is totally in effect, they will be out of compliance,” Nestler said.
Jome said that the university is hoping to reach a deal soon.
“Putting an absolute definite time table on it’s going to be done by a certain date is not always easy,” he said. “But certainly we feel that this will be settled out equitably for both sides in the near future.”