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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 Reaches Agreement With UIC, Strike Over

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Dian Palmer Announces Over Zoom Strike is Over

SEIU Local 73 confirmed that its bargaining units reached contract agreements with the University of Illinois at Chicago after more than a week on strike. Workers returned this morning.

SEIU member Alicia Uwumarogie confirmed, “The strike is over and that we are leaving the picket lines victorious in so many areas.”

The “wins” in the new agreements include increases in shift differentials, bilingual pay for hospital workers and the workers of the division of specialized care for children.

All four bargaining agreements have language against outsourcing and commitments to safe staffing levels and to fill vacancies. SEIU president Dian Palmer said, “This strike has served as a powerful symbol to essential workers everywhere, working through this pandemic, that together, we can win.”

The professional unit gained establishment of annual market analysis to ensure that their wages stay on par with market wages. Uwumarogie said that this will keep pay from becoming stagnant and falling far behind current rates.

Additionally, the professional unit said they will see new hire and midterm salary adjustments to allow for raises when new employees are hired at rates higher than current employees. Moreover, criteria will be established for implementing raises for individuals with outstanding performance and achievement. 

Lastly, the professional unit will receive incentives for additional certifications relevant to their work.

All four agreements include expanded language around equal pay and inequity. According to Uwumarogie, these developments “will give us the ability to address the favoritism occurring in some departments and it prevents retaliation related to wages.” 

All 4,000 workers now have guarantees related to hazard pay during states of emergency such as the current pandemic.

All UIC workers in Chicago will now make at least $15 per hour, and Rockford workers will receive a raise of $.50 per hour. 

The new contract that will be ratified next week includes annualized raises of 2% increase in the first year, 1% in the second year,1.5% in the third year and 1.5% in the fourth year. And that is on top of step increases that are already built into the contract.

Only three of the four bargaining units get step increases. The professional and DSCC workers are exempt.


  • 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.