UPDATED 10:35 a.m. | The union that represents around 360 Illinois State University building service, dining, and grounds employees has overwhelmingly approved a new contract that took over a year to negotiate.
The three-year contract with AFSCME’s Local 1110 calls for a 2% pay increase this year, with retroactive pay back to Jan. 1. For 2020 and 2021, the contract allows for the union to go back to the bargaining table if ISU doesn’t publicly announce wage increases of at least 2.5%.
AFSCME staff representative Renee Nestler said members were satisfied but not quite happy with the final contract.
“It’s quite frustrating that ISU has not been more willing to work with us to reach better agreements faster,” Nestler said. “It took a while to even get to a place where we could put something in front of our members (Monday) that we thought would pass.”
The new contract does include higher wages for some of the lowest-paid classifications, above the across-the-board increases, Nestler said. But the union would have liked to see ISU improve the overall wage schedule, especially considering the state’s minimum wage will be rising to $15 between now and 2025, she said. The rising cost of living is eating up most of any 2% increase, she said.
“These workers have direct impact on students’ lives every day,” Nestler said. They support faculty, feed students, and take care of the campus grounds, she said.
“They have their hands all over everything. It’s very disappointing that ISU has not been willing to do more for them and show them respect in trying to increase their wages,” she said.
Bargaining continues between ISU and Local 3236, which includes university clerical workers.
Illinois State University values the work and contributions of all employees and has a long working relationship with a number of bargaining units across campus," said ISU spokesperson Eric Jome. "University leaders are pleased that negotiations with Local 1110 resulted in the newly ratified contract. Meetings continue with representatives from Local 3236, and University leaders are confident that a new contract will be reached."
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