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UIC Administrator Provokes Workers' Anger

by Joe Iosbaker |
August 20, 2005
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Workers climbing a stairwell
(Fight Back! News)

Chicago, IL - 100 workers at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) marched on the labor relations office on Jan. 19. They were protesting management’s failure to give service and maintenance workers the raises they agreed to in contract negotiations. Also, clerical, administrative and technical workers joined the march to demand that management schedule new bargaining dates for their contracts, both of which expired several months ago.

Greg Parran, UIC’s chief negotiator, had provoked the protest. He finished negotiations with the service and maintenance workers in October and signed the final language of the contract on Nov. 22. Workers still haven’t received the raises or back pay. A week earlier, it had come to light that Parran had left the signed contract sitting on his desk for seven weeks.

The workers, members of Service Employees International Union Local 73, chanted demands for “retro” (retroactive pay, owed to them for almost one and a half years). They called for UIC to get rid of the chief negotiator, Greg Parran. And they received solidarity messages from the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement as well as the Graduate Employees Organization. Carina Sanchez, a candidate for alderwoman in the 12th ward, gave greetings. She is running against one of the city council members that sold out the SEIU-backed ‘Big Box ordinance’ that would have forced major retail stores to pay a living wage.

The workers climbed two flights of stairs, and Sirlena Perry, executive board member, read a ‘final notice’ to Parran, charging him with job misconduct. He refused to come out to meet with the angry workers, sending a subordinate to receive their message. The workers chants demanding “retro” bounced off the walls inside the office building as they left.