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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 On Second Week Of Strike

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
SEIU Local 73 Strike in Front of UI Health L.P. Johnson Family Health Center

Organized workers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford continued their strike this week as contract negotiations continue. 
Carmen Garcia has worked for the UIC division of specialized child care for more than 20 years. She says she and her coworkers just want a fair contract like other staff are already getting. 

“We're not even asking for extra, we're asking to be recognized and treated equally," she said. "And we're not.” 
Garcia said that part of the problem is that some workers don’t have guaranteed step increases in their contracts, which means that some workers can work for years without any kind of raise.

Credit Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
SEUI Local 73 Strike in Front of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford

Members of Service Employees International Union Local 73 at the Rockford campus and the UI Health L.P. Johnson Family Health Center are in their second week on strike.

They’ve been calling for improved personal protective equipment as well as fair wages.
Teamsters Local 325 said it stands with the SEIU workers. They said their members won’t cross the picket line, and they won’t pick up any waste at the UIC strike locations until further notice.

  • 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.
Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.