CHICAGO (CBS) — The union representing 135 child care workers at two YMCAs has filed an unfair labor practices complaint against their employer.

The Service Employees Union filed the complaint against the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. WBBM’s Bob Roberts tells why.

The workers claimed the YMCA is taking a divide and conquer approach. The issues include withholding severance for seven laid off childcare workers at its First Lutheran and Chicago Head Start sites, and contract negotiations for the 135 workers who remain.

SEIU said the YMCA refused to pay the severance, unless the remaining workers forgo further negotiations or a new contract, and accept a one percent raise.

Worker Tahiti Hamers said that’s not fair.

“That’s not fair to them. That’s not fair to the service they provided to the YMCA,” she said.

“A one percent raise equals only 11 to 14 cents for the majority of their work forces. That’s pennies.”

A YMCA spokeswoman denied the union’s allegations.

“The YMCA did not make the threat characterized by SEIU. We welcome the union back to the negotiating table and hope to resume discussions in good faith. We want to work together to resolve this matter for the affected staff,” YMCA Chicago spokeswoman Aileen Tormon said.

The three year contract that expires Dec. 31 was the union’s first.