Updated 1:10 p.m. | Illinois State workers and student supporters called on the university to increase pay for all workers to a $15 hourly wage, at minimum.
The public comments follow last month's rally for higher wages on ISU's campus.
More than 500 unionized university employees have gone without contracts for nearly one year. Union speakers at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday said they feel “disrespected,” as they watch the university make cosmetic improvements to the campus.
University President Larry Dietz said the funding pools are separate, and that employee salaries are funded by state dollars.
“I know that they’ve been having conversations, but today was the first time that I heard some of their concerns, and I made notes and will have conversations about that,” Dietz said. “But those negotiations occur around the table with our representatives and representatives of that organization.”
Dietz said the employees do great work, and he remains confident the university will get beyond this hurdle. He said he is not aware of any scheduled contract meetings at this time.
Spokesperson Eric Jome said the university human resources department has meetings scheduled to discuss the contracts.
The board celebrated the graduating class of 2019 while approving a tuition freeze for the incoming freshmen and transfer class.
While tuition rates for incoming students will stay the same as last year, the board approved a $10 per credit hour increase in fees.
Dietz said the increase should put around $4 million into the university’s general fund.
“We will be able to do what the state, frankly, in my estimation, possibly had responsibility for for the last 10 years,” he said. “Even if a capital bill is funded, which we hope that it will be, the deferred maintenance here is nearly a half a billion dollars.”
The State of Illinois has not funded a capital bill in 10 years.
The increase amounts to a 1.3% total increase in overall student fees, including a previously approved $16 increase for student health insurance plans.
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