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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

SEIU Local 73 Strike Ongoing

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
SEIU members outside of UIC College of Pharmacy

Members of SEIU Local 73 who work at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) are on their second day of strike.



SEIU Local 73 is calling for the University of Illinois to “respect us, protect us and pay us.” The University of Illinois College of Medicine also has campuses in Chicago, Rockford and Peoria. Dian Palmer is the President of SEIU Local 73 and she says the university failed to meaningfully respond to issues including safe working conditions, adequate staffing, and pay increase 

“Even now, folks are concerned about wearing the same mask for a long time," she continued. "And they just want to be assured that they will have the equipment that they need, because some 300 people got sick at USC and two in our bargaining units side.”


Palmer said that in Rockford, workers are facing the same issues and being paid less than their Chicago counterparts. For example, Palmer said Rockford workers, “have the same titles and jobs as they have in Chicago. The university charges the same fees as they charge in Chicago, but they pay those workers oftentimes a little bit less than what they pay in Chicago.


As of today, Local 73 has begun negotiations with all four of their bargaining units. Palmer said she’s UIC released a statement saying the University and SEIU have been engaged in collective bargaining over contracts for each of the four bargaining units. UIC says some student services may be curtailed or unavailable until the strike is resolved.


  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.