SEIU Local 1 janitors who clean Chicago Public School (CPS) rallied at the CPS Board of Education meeting on March 25th as two custodians testified to the board. The custodians are calling on CPS to support good jobs with adequate staffing to ensure our city’s children have the clean schools they need to learn and excel.
The custodians are urging CPS to do right by the hardworking janitors who clean our city’s schools by providing them with decent wages and benefits and reinstating part-timed Aramark janitors to full-time work. Aramark, the cleaning contractor hired by CPS, laid off nearly 300 janitors who clean public schools in our city and cut another 200 to part-time in October of last year.
“I have cleaned Chicago Public Schools for 19 years,” SEIU Local 1 member Ina Davis told reporters. “Every night I clean 23 classrooms, 17 bathrooms and 72,000 square feet of hallway. I am here to tell CPS: I want to clean your schools; you want your schools clean. Help me. I feel like I’m doing triple time.”
Despite working extremely hard, the current custodial workforce is not allowed enough hours to keep our schools clean. Chicago and its schools are safer, cleaner and more prosperous when their workers are fairly compensated and they have adequate staffing.
Contracts that impact the livelihood of 22,000 SEIU Local 1 members and their families are expiring on April 5, including hundreds who work at CPS.