Nearly 200 janitors, many of whom spent several months fighting Right to Work in Missouri, took part in the meeting to kick off SEIU Local 1’s contract negotiations with St. Louis contractors. The contract for 2,100 janitors in the St. Louis area expires December 31. Negotiations begin in late October.
St. Louis janitors are considered “extremely low income” according to Federal HUD income limits. Despite cleaning the offices of some of the country’s most profitable companies, the average downtown janitor is paid a little over $11,232 annually, likely qualifying them for various public assistance programs, such as food stamps (SNAP) and the school lunch program.
“One in four children in St. Louis live below the poverty line,” St. Louis janitor Tommy Lynch said. “On average, we make so little that we cannot sustain our families. Our campaign is not only about St. Louis’ janitors though; it is about our entire community. We are working to Raise St. Louis with good jobs and higher wages. It is only by increasing wages that we can all benefit.”