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Building Service Workers Vote In Favor Of A Strike

Written by on April 13, 2022

NORMAL, Ill. – Hovey Hall and ISU’s quad became the scene of a massive protest Tuesday evening.

The rally, held by AFSCME Local 1110, was in support of ISU’s building, ground and food service workers, as they look to negotiate with Illinois State University for a new contract. Without one, Illinois State’s building service workers (BSW) could go on strike as soon as next Monday.

The gathering, with numbers of supporters in the hundreds, was made up of union members, college students, professors, grad students and children, among others.

As the crowd grew larger–the chants became louder outside the vacant office of ISU President Terri Goss-Kinzy. Protest leaders used megaphones to voice their frustration with how the administration inside Hovey Hall has handled prioritizing a new contract for BSW workers.

Second-year PhD student Steven Lazaroff, spoke throughout the event about ISU’s priorities. He cited ISU’s spending on a new ESports Arena, the College of Engineering and a new athletics facility as ways that the university has put other projects above BSW’s.

Lazaroff made a name for himself on ISU’s campus last year leading in the protests that ended in ISU renegotiation with the grad workers’ union.

ASFCME workers protesting through the ISU Quad.

“It’s the poverty wages, and ISU’s arrogance,” said Lazaroff. “They pay such low wages that they lose four workers a month, and they are only able to hire back one, because they pay lower wages than Taco Bell.”

Lazaroff goes on to explain what would happen if there is a strike.

“Whether or not they strike at this point is up to ISU,” says Lazaroff. “If ISU gives them a contract, and then the rank-and-file of AFSCME 1110 voted up, then there’s no strike.”

AFSCME members voted 96% in favor of authorizing a strike, so the scenes of this protest will be the last plea from their members before their Monday deadline to reach a deal.

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