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Union Activist Targeted by UIC Administration

By staff |
July 7, 2009
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An unfair labor practices charge against the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) has been filed with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board. UIC is alleged to have targeted a member of SEIU Local 73 for possible elimination, in retaliation for his union activity.

John Loya is the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources at UIC. Joe Iosbaker is a secretary in the College of Medicine there and the chief steward for the workers in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In early May, 35 workers were notified that their jobs were being eliminated. 60 more were being affected by the ‘bumping’ process in the civil service system and those with the least seniority in their job titles were being laid off. Local 73 is charging that Loya manipulated the process to make certain that Iosbaker suffered the loss of his position.

The Labor Board is charged with investigating the case. The charges reflect that union activism is ‘protected activity,’ according to the collective bargaining agreement between Local 73 and UIC. Earlier this year, Local 73 filed another unfair labor practices charge against UIC, for denying workers in the Patient Access department the right to wear t-shirts with a union message.

Iosbaker believes he was targeted because this year he has participated in numerous demonstrations at the university to protest anticipated layoffs. Iosbaker and other union activists at UIC have also joined the coalition UIC-Against Budget Cuts to oppose layoffs of members of other unions, cuts to services for the working-class communities that surround UIC and to oppose fee and tuition increases for students. There have been repeated protests, controversy and media coverage since the administration at UIC set out in the fall to balance their budget crisis on the backs of the workers, students and the poor.