DETROIT – As janitors, security officers, healthcare workers and public sector workers across Detroit are in the process of choosing the candidate who deserves their vote in the primary, Gail Stiger, a member of Service Employees International Union Local 1, was joined by former State Senator Gretchen Whitmer for a day in her life. Ms. Whitmer walked a day in this janitor’s shoes and heard about the issues she faces each day, while working a low wage job in the McNamara Terminal. Ms. Whitmer heard what it takes to not only survive on low wages, but also what is needed to ensure that all of Detroit’s neighborhoods can thrive.
“If I were to talk to the next Governor, I would tell him or her that they should think about what their life would be like if they didn’t make as much – if they made as little as me,” said Stiger. “I would ask them to think about how much they would struggle to make ends meet, deciding which bill to pay or how they were going to get to work. I’m tired of struggling. I would ask them to be compassionate and to help us by working to raise wages and build our unions because that is how you can help.”
Service workers are calling on their next governor to raise wages, support the right to join together in a union, build our communities and keep the people of Michigan safe. More than 1,000 janitors in Detroit, including the janitors at McNamara Terminal, will kick off negotiations for their Master Janitorial Contract this summer, with the current agreement expiring on July 31. SEIU Local 1 is also working to bring workers across the Detroit area, including janitors, airport workers and arena district workers, a voice on the job as they are standing together for a $15 minimum wage and union rights.
“Working with Gail today has sharpened my focus and eliminated my patience for anyone who stands in the way of a fair wage for Michiganders who work hard and play by the rules,” said Whitmer. “We can build an economy that works for everyone by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and making it easier, not harder for workers to organize unions starting with repealing right to work. I stand with the hardworking men and women who keep our airport clean and safe, and I’ll never stop fighting for workers in Michigan.”