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Message to Staff: SEIU and INA Negotiations Update

Dear UIC Campus Community,

Today is day five of the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) strike and the third day of the Service Employees Internal Union (SEIU) Local 73 strike. We want to make sure you have up-to-date facts about the negotiations.

STATUS OF NEGOTIATIONS

Discussions and active negotiations continue in earnest this week with both the INA and SEIU Local 73 with the support of federal mediators. We have negotiated rigorously and in good faith with both unions.

With INA, we have held 24 negotiating sessions, with more than half of those under the guidance of federal mediators. Proposals continue to be amended by both parties in bargaining sessions with the INA.

We have been meeting with SEIU for 10-14 months, depending on the contract dates for each unit – a total of more than 40 bargaining sessions among the four units. However, union leadership has not shown a willingness to compromise. SEIU negotiators presented the exact same proposal as Sunday, while UIC presented a number of concessions during yesterday’s bargaining session.

COMPENSATION

Our nurses deserve top compensation—and they receive it. On average, UI Health nurses earn over $20,000 a year more in base hourly compensation than their counterparts. We have offered to continue annual anniversary increases, which average 2.44%, and up to $1,000 in incentive bonuses each year, if hospital nursing quality care indicators are met. Under our proposals, UI Health nurses would continue to remain in the top 10% for pay compared to their peers in Chicago, Illinois and throughout the U.S.

In negotiations with the SEIU compensation continues to be a key issue.

For SEIU Clerical and Technical employees, we have offered to continue annual anniversary step increases for every year of the four year contract. Therefore, under our proposals, these SEIU employees would receive average annual guaranteed minimum increases of:

CONTRACT YEAR                    CLERICAL                    TECHNICAL

One                                                        4.45%                                  5.02%

Two                                                        2.45%                                  3.02%

Three                                                    3.95%                                  4.52%

Four                                                       3.70%                                  4.27%

Also, members of the SEIU Service & Maintenance bargaining unit will continue receiving step increases based upon the progression of months or years worked and not necessarily on an annual basis – this could be up to more than 17% in addition to an increase in the minimum wage. The SEIU Professional unit does not receive step increases.

This proposal allows us to remain highly competitive with peer institutions and exceed expected cost of living increases. For reference, the current Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for 2020 is 1.6%.

While many institutions have laid off large numbers of employees, we have avoided such action. During the last few months, we have done our best to support all our employees and it has been our priority to retain and pay staff during the pandemic, even as operations were curtailed and some roles were diminished.

The University and UI Health will not take any disciplinary action against employees for choosing to participate in a legal strike or job action. Likewise, the union is prohibited from using intimidation to force any employee to join a strike or not cross a picket line. We want to remind everyone that employees may choose whether to work or to participate in a strike –it’s a decision that each employee needs to make for themselves. Employees who choose not to work will not be paid during the time that they are on strike. The exceptions are pre-approved FMLA, military or vacation leave.

We remain committed to addressing key issues and believe much can be resolved through further dialogue. We value and respect all our colleagues and caregivers, and we look forward to the possibility of swift and fair resolutions.

Michael Amiridis
Chancellor

Robert Barish
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

John Coronado
Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

Michael Zenn
Chief Executive Officer, University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics