As Detroit-area janitors set out to bargain a new union contract that affects 1,500 workers and their families…
200 SEIU LOCAL 1 JANITORS RALLIED DOWNTOWN DETROIT FOR GOOD JOBS
DETROIT –Hundreds of SEIU Local 1 janitors kicked off contract negotiations today by rallying for good jobs downtown Detroit. They rallied at the New Center One Building, the Fisher Building and Albert Kahn.
“We want a Detroit that is thriving and successful for everyone,” SEIU Local 1 Michigan State Coordinator Jennifer Disla said. “Workers must have a place at the table in Detroit’s rebuilding.”
These janitors, whose contract for 1,450 janitors in Southeast Michigan (Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties) expires on July 31st, clean buildings of major corporations and public facilities like Detroit Public Schools. The average downtown janitor is paid a little over $24,000 a year, and many receive public assistance. Some are considered “very low income” according to Federal HUD income limits.
“When people ask what does a union mean to you? I say that the union means having a future,” Janitor Niya Reed said. “I love Detroit. I want my kids to have a Detroit as Detroit should be, and the way to do that is raise wages for workers like me.”
Today’s rally was the first in a series of demonstrations that will highlight the needs for good jobs as Detroit moves forward in its rebuilding. Janitors in Detroit are joining nearly 131,820 SEIU janitors in cities across the country — janitors from Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York — whose union contracts also expire in 2015 and 2016. Detroit janitors’ negotiations begin in June.
BACKGROUND: SEIU Local 1 commercial janitors are covered by the Master Agreement and clean a wide variety of facilities in the Metro Detroit Region including prominent office buildings, factories, government facilities, the airport, and even some Detroit Public Schools. Among the buildings served by Local 1 janitors are: the Ally Detroit Center, First National Building, Compuware, the Renaissance Center, Ford World Headquarters, Comerica Bank (411 Building), Detroit Edison Plaza, DTE Energy Building, Wayne County’s Guardian Building and Southfield Town Center. Their contract expires on July 31st, 2015.