NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Big changes are being demanded in Normal.
More than 300 employees at Illinois State University are still without a contract as a work stoppage looms after both parties failed to reach an agreement on today’s 25th negotiation session.
The employees, represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1110 feed and clean up after the students as well as keep facilities looking nice for current and future students.
Students on campus tend to agree with the group that the university needs to pay higher wages.
“They (the school) need to do something about it, you know. Pay them more because campus would be screwed without them,” said student Laly Holdley.
Other students agreed.
“I’m very disappointed in the university. I love going here, but it’s disgusting to me, frankly, that they make such little money,” said Jack Podlesnik.
AFSCME 1110 workers are fighting for higher wages in their new contract since October. Podlesnik, a junior, said he stands with them if they choose to strike.
“They need to get what’s theirs. They deserve the money and should go on strike if necessary,” he said.
The union gave its 10-day notice to strike on Thursday, which means if a deal is not reached, a work stoppage could begin as soon as Monday.
Students say that could be a detriment to the university.
“Everything would be shut down: dining halls, the grounds. No trash would be picked up off the grounds. It would just be a mess,” said Dylan Powell, a student who works with the grounds crews.
Powell said his full-time colleagues deserve more.
“They work extremely hard all the time and I just hate to see them have to basically go on strike to get their fair share of wages and stuff,” he said.
ISU officials declined an interview, but referred to a statement on the university’s website which reads in part “The university has contingency planning to minimize disruption should a strike occur.”
Negotiations lasted 12 hours Friday, with both parties unable to reach an overall agreement. Negotiations will continue on April 14.