UIC United Faculty is proud to support our colleagues in INA and SEIU as they strike for their lives, for their patients’ right to appropriate care, and for fair contracts that ensure these standards can be enforced. We have signed the below statement in solidarity with our fellow workers, and invite you to sign as an individual as well.
We, the undersigned, demand the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) bargain in good faith to reach a fair contract with 4,000 SEIU 73 members and 1,400 Illinois Nurses Association members.
The workers who have kept the University of Illinois-Chicago running in the midst of a global pandemic have paid dearly for it. Hundreds of workers and their families have been infected with COVID-19, and two members of SEIU Local 73 have died from COVID contracted in their workplace. Illinois Nurses Association shares the pain of staff deaths with 73, as two nurses contracted COVID-19 at the hospital and passed away. These nurses and SEIU 73 members died because the University did not prioritize their safety, instead, UI Health criticized employees for wearing masks because they did not want to upset patients and visitors.
UIC is exempt from paying the Chicago minimum wage, which means that hundreds of workers are paid below minimum wage. Building service workers, who clean COVID hospital rooms and bathrooms, are a 76% Black workforce. For this, their starting pay is $12.65 an hour with no hazard pay and insufficient PPE. By contrast, their majority-white counterparts at the University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana make several dollars more per hour than the majority-Black workforce in Chicago.
We stand with SEIU 73 as they fight for protections from privatization, safe staffing, universal PPE, and dignity and respect for all workers. We stand with the INA as they fight for safe staffing through Safe Patient Limits, a staffing model that caps the number of patients a nurse is responsible for, allowing for secure and dedicated care to our most vulnerable patients.
There is no economic justice without racial and healthcare justice. We stand with the 4,000 SEIU Local 73 workers and 1,400 INA nurses who are ready to strike for their lives, their families, and their communities. Believing that #BlackLivesMatter means fighting for a living wage, safe staffing, and dignity and respect for the workers of color who are caring for our community in the midst of a global pandemic.
If UIC believes that #BlackLivesMatter, then UIC must bargain in good faith for a fair contract now. #StrikeforOurLives #FairContractNowUIC
UIC United Faculty