July 29, 2019

AFSCME members urge ISU to pay a living wage

Members of AFSCME Locals 1110 and 3236 at Illinois State University—more than 500 buildings and grounds, dining, clerical, library and health care employees—have been negotiating a new contract with the university for more than a year.

On July 26, they once again brought their case for a living wage to the ISU board of trustees meeting.

The university has been stalling on real wage increases, said AFSCME Council 31 Staff Representative Renee Nestler, causing employees to fall behind while the cost of living goes up.

“Some employees are finding it unaffordable to work at ISU or need second jobs,” Nestler testified to the board.

“With ISU expecting its largest freshman class ever, having had the best fundraising year ever and set to receive a 5% increase in state appropriations, why isn’t there a willingness to invest in these dedicated employees?”

ISU employees are paid $1.50 to $3.00 an hour less than employees at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign doing similar work with the same titles, civil service tests and hiring procedures. At the same time, employees aren’t rewarded for longevity and departments are short-staffed with high vacancy rates.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for late August. AFSCME members who have been working under an expired contract for more than a year are stepping up pressure for a fair agreement.

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