The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

Ivy Residences to Lay Off 10 Unionized Employees Without Severance

Despite the dire nature of the situation, SEIU Local 1 said that members of the community have rallied around employees.
Multiple+individuals+stand+facing+many+different+directions%2C+some+in+groups+having+conversations%2C+in+front+of+a+multistory+brick+building+with+a+sign+that+says+Ivy+and+Rentivy.com+above+the+door.
Austin Zeglis
Community members and employees protest in front of Ivy Residences’s 53rd Street office.

Last Thursday, November 16, employees and community allies rallied in front of Ivy Residences’ 53rd Street office after all 10 building maintenance workers were told they would be let go without severance in two weeks from November 13.

Many of the workers, who are all members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, have been working in their buildings since before Pioneer Acquisitions, the parent company of Ivy Residences, purchased the properties from the University of Chicago in 2016.

Workers told The Maroon that after the acquisition, Ivy honored the contract that the University had negotiated with them until it expired. Workers were unable to negotiate a new contract until a one-year deal was agreed to last year. That contract expired this fall.

Since 2016, the number of buildings each employee was responsible for has increased as the size of the maintenance staff decreased.

According to the union, management informed the 10 maintenance workers that they were being terminated on Monday, November 13. Three days later, on Thursday afternoon, employees and their union delivered a petition to Ivy asking management to reconsider their decision. Negotiations about the decision and its effects were still ongoing by the end on November 17, per the union.

“Like I’ve said, [I’ve been here for] 35 years,” said Gober who began working for the University in 1989 and continued to work in his building after Ivy acquired it. “It’s hard out there for younger people looking for a job. And for a 50-year-old guy to go out looking for work, even with the experience that we have it’s not easy.”

Jeffrey Mosely, another employee, told The Maroon that what employees were asking for was actually part of their now-expired contract with Ivy. “The guidelines in the prior contract for removing us, I believe, would have been 60 days’ notice.”

Employees who spoke to The Maroon said that Ivy had told them they were planning to replace unionized employees with non-unionized staff from a third-party property management company, Cagan Management Group. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Gober, the employees do not have much hope that their jobs can be saved. They are asking management to allow them to continue working until the end of the year.

“I think [Ivy has] made up their mind. The best-case scenario we have is we might get to go to the end of the year. Instead of being out in two weeks, we’d get another month and a half.”

Members of the community have rallied around employees. According to SEIU, there was strong support from both Hyde Park residents and University of Chicago students.

The Maroon was unable to reach a representative from Ivy Residences or Pioneer Acquisitions for comment.

Eric Fang and Austin Zeglis contributed reporting.

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About the Contributors
Nikhil Jaiswal, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Nikhil Jaiswal is a member of the Class of 2024 from Connecticut. He has worked for The Maroon since 2020, starting as a reporter  and then working as an editor in the News section; covering a range of topics but with a focus on breaking news, rallies, and labor movements. You can find his writing here on The Maroon’s website and live coverage written by him and other members of the News section on the @NewsMaroon twitter account. In his free time, Nikhil enjoys getting free merch on campus. Send tips to nikhildjaiswal@protonmail.com
Austin Zeglis, Senior News Reporter, Senior Sports Reporter
Austin is a member of the class of 2024 who hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He studies economics and music in the College and contributes to the Sports and News sections of The Maroon.
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