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Media Statement: SEIU Local 73 10-Day Notice of Intent to Strike

Statement from Michael D. Amiridis, Chancellor, University of Illinois Chicago; and Michael Zenn, CEO, University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics

Today, the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)—which includes UI Health, the only state hospital in Illinois—was disappointed to learn that the service employees union (SEIU Local 73) has filed a ten-day notice of intent to strike with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. In informing UIC and UI Health of this action, SEIU has indicated its plans for a potential work stoppage commencing no sooner than September 14. SEIU Local 73 includes 4,000 Clerical, Service & Maintenance, Technical and Professional employees across the campus and in the Hospital.

The SEIU’s notice of intent to strike follows a similar announcement by the Illinois Nurse’s Association (INA) of a potential seven-day strike at UI Health that could commence as soon as September 12.

While these actions mean that the SEIU can opt to strike any time after a ten-day waiting period, it does not mean that they will. We remain committed to these negotiations, and are prepared to continue extensive good-faith bargaining for as long as it takes to reach fair and fiscally responsible agreements with both unions.

UIC’s current contracts with the four SEIU bargaining units expired between August and December of 2019. However, key terms of the current collective bargaining agreements (including compensation, health insurance and other benefits) remain in effect until new contracts are reached as negotiations continue.

Over the past four months, UIC and SEIU have been meeting on a regular basis to negotiate the terms of new multiyear contracts. In our most recent sessions, we have been joined by a federal mediator who is helping guide our discussions. To date, we have reached tentative agreements on almost all non-economic issues. Only in recent weeks have the parties exchanged economic proposals. We believe much can be resolved through further dialogue and have four additional sessions scheduled with the mediator over the next two weeks.  We are hopeful that SEIU will agree to schedule additional negotiation sessions as needed to reach agreements.

We greatly value and respect our SEIU colleagues. While we will do everything in our power to prevent a strike, should a work stoppage occur, we are prepared to continue ongoing operations at our University and safe patient care at UI Health.