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UIC workers march, call for Gov. Pritzker to support their demands

By Zachary Schultz |
September 18, 2020
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UIC strikers on the march.
UIC strikers on the march. (Zach Schultz)

Chicago, IL - Over 1000 University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) workers from SEIU Local 73 and the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) flooded the center of downtown Chicago, September 18, calling for Governor JB Pritzker to support their demands in the largest strike ever at the university.

The strike began last Saturday, September 12, when INA nurses walked out at UI Health, where UIC has refused to negotiate safe staffing limits. 4000 Local 73 workers bolstered the lines September 14, joining the strike, demanding safe working conditions, staffing and a living wage. Large rallies and lively picket lines have marked the past week as workers have continued to press their demands.

The march began early in the morning at Millennium Park and proceeded to outside Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office at the Thompson Center, the State of Illinois office building.

Angie Ross, a medical office specialist in physical therapy at UIC fired up the large crowd. “We know our governor has the ability to do what’s right and help our union win this battle. We hope you take the chance to protect the workers of this state. My sisters and brothers, out here we will not stop fighting until UIC does what’s right by us.”

The rage at the disrespect, low wages and unsafe conditions was clear at picket lines and rallies throughout the past week. The strike is the largest since the start of the economic crisis, and the largest ever at UIC. The strike was born out of the same sentiment that launched the country-wide rebellion against police terror. UIC workers have gone beyond calling for improvements at work to demanding justice in their communities, with Black lives matter being a major slogan of the strike.

The message is clear: working people and the oppressed are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

In 2018 many unions, including SEIU Local 73, mobilized their members to support Pritzker for governor. At the time of writing, he has not issued any statement about the strike at UIC.

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