Union ready to strike against UI as 'last resort'
CHAMPAIGN — A campus labor union has told the University of Illinois of its intent to strike soon.
Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents almost 800 building and food service workers on the Urbana campus, approved a strike authorization last month. The move gave a union committee the power to issue a 10-day strike notice to the university, effectively paving the way for union members to strike anytime after that.
SEIU notified the university about its plans on Monday.
“This does not mean negotiations are over,” the union said in a statement.
The news comes a day before yet another planned negotiating session and two days before another picket planned for campus.
The union and university have been negotiating for a new contract since June 2012. The two sides brought in a federal mediator in December.
The bargaining committees called the action “a last resort, because they feel it is necessary. Hopefully we will be able to reach agreement before the strike happens, but we are prepared to take that step if necessary,” said SEIU senior field organizer Ricky Baldwin in a statement.
After the union overwhelmingly approved the strike authorization, a campus spokeswoman said if the two sides work together, they will be able to reach an agreement.