On the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination…

***** News Advisory for Wednesday, April 4 *****

Contact: Izabela Miltko, (708) 655-9681 miltkoi@seiu1.org

Nell McNamara, (206) 852-5934 mcnamaran@seiu1.org

On the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination,

Clergy and Community Leaders Join Janitors in Support of Good Jobs for Chicago

CHICAGO| Clergy, community leaders and Chicago janitors, who authorized a strike this past weekend, are holding a press conference outside ABM Janitorial Services Headquarters on Wednesday, April 4 at 10:30 a.m. On the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, community leaders are standing up with local janitors who are continuing Martin Luther King’s fight for good jobs and a fair economy. Dr. King was killed while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

In the final days of contract negotiations, 13,000 janitors who clean downtown and suburban commercial office buildings, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago facilities, and Chicago’s airports are fighting for wages that would enable them to pay their bills and the health care they need for their families. As the janitors struggle to keep their families out of poverty, building owners and office space tenants like Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase are making huge profits. Chicago has the third highest poverty rate, the second highest foreclosure rate, and the highest rate of racial income disparity of any major city in the U.S. The poverty rate in Chicago for African Americans is nearly 30 percent and for Latinos it’s 20 percent. Yet Chicago is home to 27 Fortune 500 Companies and is sixth in the nation for cities with the most millionaires. These stark contrasts are reminders that the goals of Martin Luther King, Jr. have not yet been realized.

WHAT:                             Faith and community leaders join janitors in a press conference calling for good job and a fair economy on the Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination during sanitation workers strike in 1968.

WHEN & WHERE:        Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.

180 N. LaSalle St. – ABM Janitorial Services

WHO: –  Hundreds of SEIU Local 1 Janitors from the Chicago area and their families

–    SEIU Local 1 Community Supporters and Allies

VISUALS: United front of community members and janitors waving flags and holding signs saying “I AM A MAN, I AM A WOMAN, I AM A JANITOR, in homage to the posters used by Memphis sanitation workers and their supporters during their strike in 1968.

BACKGROUND: For the first time ever, SEIU Local 1’s janitorial contracts in all 11 cities expire in the same year. These contracts impact the livelihood of 22,000 Local 1 members and their families. Chicago-area janitors have been in contract negotiations since early March. Their contract, impacting more than 13,000 local janitors, expires on April 8.

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