SEIU considers U of I's counteroffer, mulls strike

Four days before the Service Employees International Union Local 73 has the legal right to strike, negotiating team members are waiting on a University response to a four-year contract proposal they offered Monday.

The union, which represents about 800 University food and building service workers, has been in negotiation with the University since its contract expired in July 2012.

Ricky Baldwin, the union’s lead negotiator, said the group made concessions in terms of the length of the contract in exchange for a higher base rate pay increase.

After being offered the proposal, University negotiators needed more time for review, Baldwin said.

Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler would not say when the University will give its response.

“The University is working on a counterproposal and is staying in contact with the chief negotiators for the union,” Kaler said.

Monday’s bargaining session was to be the second-to-last scheduled session, but the union canceled Friday’s session and cited a need for time to review the University’s counterproposal.

“More than likely they will make a counterproposal (that is) significantly less but hopefully more than what they proposed previously,” Baldwin said. “If they do that, we’ll take it to the members to vote over the weekend and hope for the best.”

Baldwin added that if the counterproposal does not satisfy union members, they still plan to strike.

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