A day before they were to hold their first bargaining session with the university administration and a federal mediator, members of the Graduate Employees' Organization rallied outside the Undergraduate Library on campus.
The union has been negotiating since April; the contract expired in August.
On Thursday, GEO members were joined by others from several labor groups including the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Campus Faculty Association for a "we want to work" rally at the Undergradute Library plaza. The group heard speakers, then marched down the Quad.
Last month the UI and GEO agreed to invite a federal mediator to their sessions to help them reach an agreement.
The key issue for GEO members is protecting their tuition waivers, a topic the two sides have not discussed extensively yet.