UIC Worker Strike Imminent: Union Votes On Protest After Contract Negotiations Stall

05/07/2012 12:00 pm ET | Updated May 07, 2012

Roughly 500 workers at the University of Illinois at Chicago will decide whether to strike this week after months of unproductive contract negotiations with the college.

The workers union's contracts have open for discussion with management since late 2010, but over the course of 27 bargaining sessions, workers say the university continues to cry poverty--despite a recent $285,000 payout to the departing president, according to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, based in Chicago.

On March 21, workers demanded a federal mediator after management failed to supply a wage counter proposal, according to the SEIU. At subsequent mediated meetings with administrators on April 5 and April 19, the union says management again failed to provide a counter-offer to their initial request for pay raises.

On Monday and Tuesday, the union will vote on a possible three-day strike that would take the university's medical technicians, nurses, social workers and other support staff off the job.

UIC officials said Sunday that they "are committed to negotiating a contract that is fair to our employees and fiscally responsible," according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In August and October of 2010, the University faced similar pushback from employees over contract negotiations.