Union members ratify contract with the University of Illinois

URBANA — Members of the SEIU Local 73 at the University of Illinois have ratified a new four-year contract with the university.

Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents close to 800 building and food service workers as well as mail messengers on the Urbana campus, voted overwhelmingly to approve the contract in balloting that took place on Thursday and Friday, according to union Vice President Aaron Ammons.

Ammons said that 93 percent of building service workers and 89 percent of food service workers voted in favor of the contract.

“I am pleased with how the membership stuck together to get the deal we got,” Ammons said on Friday night.

According to Ammons, the contract gives workers a 50-cent per hour raise for the first year, retroactive to July 2012, plus a $200 signing bonus per person.

The workers will receive a 30-cent per hour raise during the second year, a 25-cent per hour raise during the third year and a 25-cent per hour raise during the fourth year.

The contract also includes an increase in shift differential wages for workers who work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. as well as from 4 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“If the overall wages on campus become higher than that, the union wages could also be higher during the second, third and fourth years of the contract,” Ammons said.

University spokeswoman Robin Kaler said the contract will go into effect as soon as the document is signed by both union and university representatives.

“We are thrilled,” Kaler said on Friday night. “It is great to have everybody on the same page and focused on what we do best: serving our students.”

“I am pleased with the overall contract, but I think we should have gotten more per year,” Ammons said. “We deserved more, but I understand the state of the economy at the moment.”

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