Illinois

Hundreds of Chicago Window Washers Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike

Potential strike could occur anytime after June 30

CHICAGO – SEIU Local 1 window washers, joined by Chicago Latino Caucus Chairman Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) outside Trump Tower, announced Monday afternoon they have voted overwhelmingly to strike, if necessary. A strike could occur anytime after their current collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30.

“Any strike we have would disrupt the industry for the entire season,” said Cruz Guzman, a Chicago window washer with Service One. “We’re ready to do whatever it takes to help support our families, even go on strike. Because too many of us are barely making ends meet. We’re asking our employers: come to the table and offer us a fair wage for the dangerous work we do. And we’re asking the people of Chicago to support us.”

Every day, Chicago window washers hang hundreds of feet in the air and put their lives on the line to clean iconic buildings like Trump Tower, the Willis Tower and 875 N. Michigan but are struggling on low wages and a healthcare policy that forces many to rely on public assistance.

“The working people who do some of the most dangerous work in our city should not struggle to make ends meet. Their families should not be forced to rely on public assistance for healthcare,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “That’s why window washers are demanding a fair raise and a better healthcare plan to help them support their families and communities.”

Window washing is an important and historic family industry in Chicago, yet many workers struggle to make ends meet on wages as low as $11 cleaning the skyscrapers of billion-dollar corporations. Window washers cannot afford employer-provided healthcare, with many of their families forced to rely on public assistance just to have health coverage.

While billion-dollar buildings like Trump Tower enjoy massive tax breaks, the window washers who scale them are barely making ends meet. Meanwhile, in other markets like New York, window washers start at $21 and enjoy employer-provided healthcare, giving them the ability to support their families and communities. Chicago window washers deserve the same opportunity.

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Local 1 Rallies on May Day

On May 1, Local 1 joined hundreds of labor, community and faith allies across the Midwest to mark May Day, or International Workers’ Day.

In Chicago, a coalition of allies rallied to resist the racist, anti-immigrant policies of the Trump and Rauner administrations. Demonstrators held marches and rallies throughout the day, during which they called for demilitarization of our borders in order to protect immigrant families.

Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker joined Local 1 for the May Day festivities. Check out photos from Chicago:

Many media outlets covered the Chicago events, including the Chicago Sun-Times and Telemundo Chicago!

Here’s a look at the May Day actions in Chicago:

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, Local 1 members joined community groups in the city’s Buckeye neighborhood to demand that communities like this one not be forgotten.

“We know that unions are the answer to these problems. The turning point in my life was getting a job with a union because one of the best ways to lift low-wage workers out of poverty is to join a union,” said Sandra Ellington, Local 1 Executive Board member and Cleveland janitor.

Here’s media coverage from the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland Scene!

And in Detroit, Local 1 members rallied with dozens of community allies at Clark Park. They were joined by Democratic Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed. Local 1 member Maria Jackson spoke about the importance of building unions and the fear experienced by immigrants in joining together.

Together, we rise against hatred, racism and bigotry and urge all Americans to stand up for the protection of all our communities!

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City Building Custodians in Chicago Ratify Strong New Contract

On April 28, Local 1 city building custodians in Chicago ratified a strong new contract that guarantees good annual raises, better benefits and a stronger retirement. Together, we rise for the good union jobs our communities need to thrive!

Check out photos from the ratification:

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10,000 Local 1 Chicagoland Janitors Overwhelmingly Ratify Strong New Contracts, Win Good Raises and Better Benefits

10,000 Local 1 Chicagoland Janitors Overwhelmingly Ratify Strong New Contracts, Win Good Raises and Better Benefits

Janitors pledge to stand with Chicago Public Schools custodians ahead of possible strike as negotiations for 1,700 with cleaning contractors stall

CHICAGO – By an overwhelming margin, 10,000 Chicagoland SEIU Local 1 janitors approved strong new union contracts that guarantee good annual raises, quality healthcare and comprehensive retirement benefits. The contracts, negotiated with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) as well as suburban contractors, will help janitors across the Chicagoland area support their families and strengthen their communities. The janitors also pledged to support the 1,700 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) custodians ahead of a possible strike after contractors refused to guarantee custodians the resources they need to keep schools clean and healthy for students and teachers.

“These economic gains will directly benefit Chicagoland’s economy for years to come, helping working people build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “Local 1 janitors are leading the way for all working people – when we stand up together and bargain collectively, we all win.”

“By coming together, Local 1 janitors were able to win strong new contracts and the financial security we need,” said SEIU Local 1 janitor Jose Bernal. “Now, we’re ready to stand with CPS custodians as they prepare to do whatever it takes to win the supplies and staffing they need to keep schools clean.”

The new three-year union contracts guarantee: 

  • Annual wage increases for janitors, which will help Chicagoland working families keep up with the rise cost of living
  • Comprehensive retirement benefits including a comprehensive 401(k) package for suburban janitors
  • Stronger contract including more personal days and strengthened protections against sexual harassment

Negotiations for more than 1,700 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) custodians continue, and CPS custodians have threatened to strike if contractors do not guarantee them the supplies and 500 more custodians they need to keep schools clean for students. Many custodians buy their own supplies and suffer immense and impossible workloads, with some schools only having one custodian available to clean after school hours.  The 10,000 Local 1 janitors who ratified their contracts pledged to support CPS custodians as they prepare to do whatever it takes to win cleaner schools for children and to hold contractors like Aramark accountable to the CPS community.

 

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SEIU Illinois State Council Congratulates Winning Endorsed Candidates In Democratic Primary

SEIU Illinois State Council Congratulates Winning Endorsed Candidates In Democratic Primary

Candidates Will Fight for the Working Families of Illinois

CHICAGO – On behalf of the 150,000 janitors, security officers, health care and home care workers, public employees and more, the SEIU Illinois State Council proudly supported its endorsed candidates both financially and with an enthusiastic grassroots effort.  Hundreds of SEIU members knocked on more than 40,000 doors and made thousands of calls. More than 200,000 pieces of literature were sent to communicate with voters and nearly $500,000 was donated in direct contributions to the endorsed candidates.  In addition, thousands of text messages and live calls were used to turn out SEIU members for the endorsed candidates.

The following statement is from SEIU Illinois State Council President Tom Balanoff:

“The SEIU Illinois State Council is proud to stand with and congratulate our winning endorsed candidates in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election.

“These candidates will best represent the interests and values of working families in our great state by fighting for a $15 minimum wage, higher wages for all and affordable health care.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with them in the fight for economic, immigrant, racial and environmental justice.”

The victorious SEIU-endorsed candidates include:

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for Illinois 4th Congressional District

Kwame Raoul for Illinois Attorney General

Toni Preckwinkle for Cook County Board President

Karen Yarbrough for Cook County Clerk

 

Cook County Board of Commissioners

Brandon Johnson, 1st District

Dennis Deer, 2nd District

Bill Lowry, 3rd District

Stanley Moore, 4th District

Deborah Sims, 5th District

Donna Miller, 6th District

Luis Arroyo Jr., 8th District

Bridget Degnen, 12th District

Larry Suffredin, 13th District

 

Illinois Senate

Ram Villivalam, 8th District

Iris Martinez, 20th District

Ann Gillespie, 27th District

 

Illinois House

Theresa Mah, 2nd District

Delia Ramirez, 4th District

Lamont Robinson Jr., 5th District

Sonya Harper, 6th District

Kelly Cassidy, 14th District

Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, 17th District

Robert Martwick, 19th District

Lisa Hernandez, 24th District

Justin Slaughter, 27th District

Robert “Bob” Rita, 28th District

Thaddeus Jones, 29th District

William “Will” Davis, 30th District

Mary Flowers, 31st District

Lance Yednock, 76th District

Natalie Manley, 98th District

Marsha Griffin, 115th District

 

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CPS Custodians Rally for Clean and Safe Schools for Students and Teachers at CPS Board Meeting

CPS Custodians Rally for Clean and Safe Schools for Students and Teachers at CPS Board Meeting

CPS custodians bargaining for new contract fight for the staffing, resources and supplies they need to keep schools healthy and safe for students and teachers  

CHICAGO — On Wednesday, March 21, Chicago Public School (CPS) custodians, holding mops and bottles of iconic cleaning product Fabuloso, rallied for fabulous and clean schools outside Wednesday’s CPS Board meeting. Custodians both inside and outside the board meeting urged CPS to support the 2,000 hardworking custodians who are currently in contract negotiations with contractors Aramark, RJB, Gerelex and more.

“Too many CPS custodians do not receive the proper staffing or supplies we need to keep schools healthy and clean for students and teachers,” said SEIU Local 1 Custodian Maxine Gladney. “It’s time contractors start valuing our work and offering us the resources we need to do our jobs.”

Without guarantees of proper staffing levels or supplies, many CPS custodians struggle to keep schools as clean and healthy as possible. Many custodians buy supplies like Fabuloso with money out of their own pockets because they are deeply dedicated to their schools and students. Custodians are also fighting for a dignified wage that reflects the valuable work they do as well as more sick days to prevent illness from spreading in schools.

These issues can be addressed with a strong new contract that guarantees proper staffing, supplies, sick days and a dignified wage for CPS custodians. The current contract for custodians expires on April 8. Custodians urged the CPS Board to stand with them as they bargain with contractors for cleaner schools and a better future for their communities.

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Local 1 Celebrates The Women Who Make Chicago Work!

On International Women’s Day, hundreds of Local 1 women janitors and custodians who clean our Chicagoland offices, schools and public buildings rallied with their allies as #WomenRise for good jobs and a strong new contract!

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chicago Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward) were among the elected leaders who joined the celebration to support the women who make Chicago work!

Local 1’s women members kicked off their contract campaign on behalf of 12,000 Chicago-area janitors, 70 percent of whom are women.

It was a great event and an empowering day! Women rise! ¡Mujeres guerreras! Silne kobiety!

Check out some of the fantastic media coverage from the event:

Univision: http://bit.ly/2FoicRF

Telemundo: http://bit.ly/2txWyEM

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Chicago Airport Workers Grow Their Movement To Join Local 1!

Worker leaders at Chicago O’Hare International Airport continue to reaffirm their commitment to a better future with SEIU Local 1. At a recent convention, the worker leaders expressed excitement and optimism for their journey ahead in the fight for economic justice at Chicago’s airports!

Check out video from the convention:

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SEIU Illinois State Council Endorses Marie Newman for Congress

SEIU Illinois State Council Endorses Marie Newman for Congress

Progressive labor union represents more than 150,000 janitors, security officers, health care and home care workers, public employees and more throughout Illinois, including more than 10,000 in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. 

CHICAGO – Today, the SEIU Illinois State Council announced its  endorsement of Marie Newman in the state’s March 20 Democratic primary. Newman is running to unseat longtime incumbent Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

While Illinois working families are struggling to make ends meet, Congressman Lipinski told the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board that he did not support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. His refusal to stand with working families for a higher minimum wage, along with his votes against the Affordable Care Act, legal protections for immigrant families and a woman’s right to choose shows how clearly out of step Congressman Lipinski is with the progressive values of his constituents. Unlike Lipinski, Newman will be a progressive champion in Washington for the 3rd District’s working families by fighting for a $15 minimum wage, advocating for immigrant families, protecting a woman’s right to choose and expanding access to affordable health care.

“Congressman Lipinski’s refusal to support a $15 minimum wage for working people shows how deeply out of touch he is with the working families of his district,” said SEIU Illinois State Council President Tom Balanoff. “Whether it’s voting against Obamacare or voting for restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, it is clear Congressman Lipinski does not share the progressive values of his constituents. SEIU is proud to join a long list of progressive leaders and organizations in endorsing Marie Newman for Congress.”

“Every day, our members get up to do very hard work to deliver quality health care and child care services to those who depend on us. Unfortunately, not enough of our elected officials in Washington are doing what’s necessary to help these workers improve their lives,” said SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana President Greg Kelley. “I’m standing here today to support Marie Newman for the 3rd District Congressional seat for the state of Illinois precisely because we need someone to represent us in Washington who will not quiver or equivocate on the issues that are so important to working families.”

“When you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve a shot at the American Dream. That is a value I share with the 10,000 SEIU members who are the very backbone of our community here in the Third district. For far too long, Dan Lipinski has turned a blind eye to hardworking Illinois families ignoring his responsibility to fight to give them a chance,” said Marie Newman. “I will never turn my back on our working families, rather, I will fight tirelessly to make sure workers can survive on a livable wage, starting at $15 an hour, have access to affordable and quality healthcare and Medicare for all, and can access their earned benefits like Social Security and have respect and dignity in the workplace. I could not be more honored to have the support of SEIU and I look forward to working alongside them as a partner to make sure no matter who you are or where you come from if you work hard you will have a fighting chance at success.”

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The SEIU Illinois State Council represents more than 150,000 working people, including home care and child care providers, security officers, janitors, as well as public employees, medical professionals, first responders and social service workers. SEIU members are winning better wages, health care, and more secure jobs, while ensuring that working people, not just the wealthy and well-connected, benefit from today’s economy.

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SEIU Illinois State Council Endorses Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for Congress

SEIU Illinois State Council Endorses Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for Congress

Garcia will be a strong progressive voice in Congress for economic justice, immigrant rights

CHICAGO – The SEIU Illinois State Council, which represents 150,000 janitors, home and health care workers, higher education faculty, security officers, doorstaff, public employees, and more today announced its endorsement of Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to replace outgoing Representative Luis Gutierrez in Illinois’ 4th Congressional District.

“Now, more than ever, we need a strong progressive voice in Congress to stand up for working people and fight back against the backwards priorities of the Trump Administration,” said SEIU Illinois State Council President Tom Balanoff. “With his commitment to raising the minimum wage to $15, expanding affordable health care access and protecting immigrant rights, Chuy Garcia will be that progressive leader for the working families of Illinois.”

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of 150,000 janitors, home care and child care workers, security officers, doorstaff, public employees, and social service workers of the SEIU Illinois State Council,” said Garcia. “As Congressman, I will work with SEIU members and other allies in the labor movement to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected. This starts with raising the minimum wage to $15 indexed to CPI, supporting immigrant communities,  and ensuring more working families have access to quality, affordable health care.”

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The SEIU Illinois State Council represents more than 150,000 working people, including home care and child care providers, security officers, janitors, as well as public employees, medical professionals, first responders and social service workers. SEIU members are winning better wages, health care, and more secure jobs, while ensuring that working people, not just the wealthy and well-connected, benefit from today’s economy.

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