Janitors Ratify New Contract with Historic Raises, Continue Fight for One Detroit with Higher Wages and Union Rights for All Workers

Agreement brings janitors to $15 in 3 years

DETROIT – SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 1 janitors, joined by elected allies, announced their historic contract victory where they attain a $15 wage in year three of their four year contract. Their win is the first in the movement to build One Detroit, a city in which all working people can enjoy the benefits of downtown Detroit’s resurgence with the higher wages they need to support their families and neighborhoods. These wage increases will add more than $9.3 million to Detroit’s economy and communities over the life of the contract. 

“This new contract means a better future for myself, my children and my community,” said SEIU Local 1 Detroit Metropolitan Airport Janitor Jasmine Hall. “But our fight for One Detroit isn’t over – we won’t stop until security officers, airport workers, arena workers, fast food workers and more can support their families with a $15 wage and good union jobs.”

Currently, janitors who keep downtown Detroit’s buildings, like the Renaissance Center and the Guardian Building, clean and safe are struggling to raise their families wages as low as $9.45. Median annual earnings for janitors are so low that many rely on public assistance just to make ends meet. While downtown is booming again, janitors are fighting for at least a $15 wage to ensure they can support their families and their neighborhoods.

“In the last five years alone, the Detroit City Council and Wayne County Commission have approved more than $1 billion in tax incentives in and around downtown Detroit,” said Detroit City Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield. “This contract and the campaign that led to it have sent a strong signal that as much as Detroiters celebrate downtown’s revitalization, we recognize that it is meaningless if working families aren’t experiencing the district’s economic boom. As leaders, we must continue to push for economic justice for the people whose hard work powers Detroit’s comeback every day.”

“We won today, but the fight for One Detroit isn’t over,” said Detroit City Councilwoman Janee Ayers. “This is a series of uphill battles. We have to keep fighting, keep organizing and keep pushing. This is a victory, but we truly haven’t won until every Detroit worker has a living wage. We still have work to do, and we have to keep striving together for working families, for the right to unionize and for a $15 wage.”

“Janitors came together and won a path to a $15 wage to strengthen their families and communities,” said Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen. “The fight for One Detroit will continue until all of our region’s working people win a $15 living wage and a union. We must make sure that any public tax dollars go towards creating good, family-sustaining jobs.”

In June, Local 1 janitors kicked off their campaign for a strong new contract and for One Detroit, a city in which all working people can experience the benefits of Detroit’s redevelopment. While the fight for One Detroit starts with higher wages for hardworking janitors, it also includes $15 and union rights for fast food workers, security officers, airport workers and more.

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