[Chicago Sun-Times] Owner of firm with O’Hare deal has links to reputed mob figure

By Dan Mihalopoulos and Mitch Dudek, November 29, 2012

The owner of a company that recently won a $99.4 million janitorial contract from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration was the longtime business partner of a man accused of involvement in organized crime.

United Maintenance Co. Inc., owned by Richard Simon, was chosen last month to clean O’Hare International Airport for five years starting on Dec. 15.

Simon was involved in another company with alleged mob figure William Daddano Jr. from 1998 until that firm was officially disbanded on Dec. 17, 2011, according to state records.

The company managed jointly by Simon and Daddano was based in the same South Loop building where United Maintenance has its offices, the records show.

In 2004, Attorney General Lisa Madigan described Daddano and three other family members as “reputed members of organized crime” as she opposed Rosemont’s bid to open a casino.

And in a “Chicago Outfit Organizational Chart” published in 1997, the Chicago Crime Commission listed Daddano among the “members and associates” of the mob’s North Side crew.

An Emanuel administration spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times late Thursday, “The city has no reason to believe that there is any wrongdoing with United Maintenance or its owner. However, if material issues arise, the city would take appropriate action to protect its interests.”

In a statement from Simon’s company, the janitorial firm said “at no time was anyone at United aware of allegations” against any of its business partners. The statement from United Maintenance also said Simon’s collaboration with Daddano involved leasing “certain heavy equipment” at convention centers and ended about five years ago.

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[ABC 7] O’Hare janitors protest at Emanuel’s home

November 29, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — Protesters marched in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home on his 53rd birthday.

O’Hare Airport janitors held a candlelight vigil late Thursday afternoon.

They are asking the mayor to reconsider his decision to cut jobs at the airport.

To save money, some union employees will be replaced by those working for a private contractor.

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[CBS Chicago] O’Hare Janitors Descend On Mayor’s House To Protest Looming Job Cuts

November 29, 2012 – CHICAGO (CBS)– Dozens of union airport workers were holding a prayer vigil outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house on Thursday, asking him to reconsider a decision to hand custodial work at O’Hare International Airport to a new company that doesn’t use union labor.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports the O’hare janitors and window washers will lose their jobs in just over two weeks, when a new contractor takes over custodial work at the airport.

The workers wanted to send a message to the mayor, on his birthday: Walk a day in our shoes.

Asked what his job has meant to him, 25-year-old Jermaine Samples said, “It’s meant the world to me so far, up until now, because it was how I provide for my family.”

(Check out the video here.)

Samples, a member of Service Employees International Union Local 1, is about to lose his $15-an-hour cleaning bathrooms at O’Hare.

Union custodial workers employed by Scrub, Inc., are being pushed at O’Hare out after Emanuel awarded a new janitorial contract to United Maintenance, a non-union firm.

“I just refuse to go back to where I started. It took so long, and it was so hard to get there,” he said. “Fifteen dollars is like a lot to me, because nobody in my family never made that. I never went to college, so for a kid like me who never went to college to make that kind of money … it’s good.”

SEIU Local 1 secretary-treasurer Laura Rueda said the switch in custodial contractors at O’Hare isn’t about saving money, claiming the city’s request for proposals to run the operation there called for 69 more custodial workers than are already at the airport.

“This is about the mayor taking care of his millionaire friends, and this is about the mayor taking away middle class jobs,” she said.

A city spokesperson said, “The city of Chicago conducted an open, fair process to select the contractor with the focus on getting a fair and efficient deal for taxpayers.”

But the 320 janitors and window washers who are about to lose their jobs in the middle of the holiday season said the move isn’t fair.

Mildred Rueda, a single mother and grandmother who works as an O’Hare janitor said the situation is “very frustrating.” She said she’s already living paycheck to paycheck.

“I go home, I can’t sleep, because I don’t know what’s gonna happen, especially right around the holidays,” she said. “Since I am a single mother, I’m the only one that does everything in the household for my kids. As of right now, I’m thinking how am I going to do it to buy gifts for them?”

The city said United Maintenance might rehire some displaced workers. But there’s no guarantee, and union employees said, even if that happens, instead of making $15.90 an hour, they would make $11.90.

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WATCH: O’Hare janitors call on Mayor Emanuel to protect middle class jobs in Chicago

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Hundreds of O’Hare Workers Set to Lose Their Jobs Just Before Christmas

Mayor Emanuel Likely to Cut More Jobs, Forcing Hundreds of Families onto Public Assistance

November 8, 2012

Contact:             Izabela Miltko, 708.655.9681,

Chicago—More than 300 janitors at O’Hare airport may lose their jobs right before Christmas this year because Mayor Rahm Emanuel awarded a key public contract to a cleaning contractor with a history of undercutting good jobs. The company, United Maintenance, has already stated it will hire new workers and pay lower wages; what are now full time, family-sustaining jobs could become part time poverty jobs. This isn’t the first time in recent months that the mayor has turned his back on Chicago workers.

Mayor Emanuel has already eliminated many city jobs and outsourced others to companies that dramatically reduce wages and benefits. This includes a recent cleaning contract at police stations and other city buildings where dozens of janitors lost their jobs. Similarly, the O’Hare janitors currently have a union contract, family health care, and a living wage, but they will lose their jobs after years of service to this City and join the ranks of Chicago’s unemployed. The workers who take their place will likely be forced to rely on public assistance programs to make ends meet. Policies like this contribute to poverty in our communities and strike a blow to Chicago’s dwindling middle class.

“We don’t know how we will pay the bills, how we will put food on the table. We won’t be able to celebrate Christmas this year with our kids,” says Manuel Nieves, a janitor at O’Hare for seven years. Manuel and his coworkers don’t understand how the mayor and the newly re-elected President could have such different policies on jobs: “Obama is always here for the working people, but our mayor’s ultimate purpose is to help the rich, not us.”

Chicago is experiencing record unemployment, record foreclosures and record poverty. Wages have remained flat for 90% of Chicagoans in the last ten years. Voters say these are issues they expected Emanuel to address by creating good jobs for working families—not replacing them with low-wage, no benefit jobs. Mayor Emanuel stated as much in his November 4 State of the Nation appearance on behalf of the Obama campaign. He applauded the President for “building on the middle class and not short-changing them like Mitt Romney would do” by ensuring they can own a home, send their kids to college and have a secure retirement.

“Our mayor says one thing and does another,” says SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “Hundreds of families would be forced into poverty and onto taxpayer-funded assistance programs if this decision stands. It’s not what workers expect from a Democratic Mayor of Chicago who was President Barack Obama’s right hand in Washington.”



SEIU Local 1 unites 50,000 property service workers in the central United States, including janitors, security officers and residential doormen. Together we work to build strength for all working people, on the job and in our communities.

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SEIU Local 1 Member Newsletters – October 2012

Catch up on news from your state and around Local 1. (Each newsletter is available in multiple languages.)

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Volunteer for Election 2012

When I was in college, I suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Fortunately, I had health insurance through school and got the care I needed. After I graduated, I was denied insurance by every major carrier because of my preexisting condition. Even the state program was too expensive for me to afford.

But when Obama helped pass the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. Now I have good health insurance with affordable premiums. I’m able to go see my doctor without worrying if I can afford it.

I want to thank President Obama for standing up for people like me, so I am volunteering with SEIU Local 1 to help re-elect President Barack Obama.

You can help too! Volunteer with SEIU Local 1 to make sure OUR voices are heard this election. Call the Member Resource Center: 877-233-8880.

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SEIU Local 1 Janitors Stand in Solidiary at CTU Picket Lines

***Advisory for Friday, September 14***

Contact: Leslie Mendoza Kamstra,, 773.896.7815


On the fifth day of the Teachers’ strike…

SEIU Local 1 Janitors at Chicago Public Schools Stand in Solidarity at CTU Picket Lines, Call on Mayor Emanuel to Support our Schools

Chicago— Dozens of Chicago Public Schools janitors and other workers will support striking teachers at Roberto Clemente High School and other schools on Friday, September 14 at 8 a.m. SEIU Local 1 is calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools to give our students, schools and teachers the resources they need to succeed.

Janitors have been showing their solidarity with teachers all week by wearing red to work, participating in rallies every day and cheering on the teachers on picket lines. SEIU Local 1 notified all janitorial contractors at Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday, September 11, that Local 1 members may choose to refuse to cross teachers’ picket lines starting Friday. However, many SEIU members are continuing to work at the schools to ensure the safety and health of Chicago’s schoolchildren as their teachers fight for their education.

What:                   Janitors and other union workers stand in solidarity with striking teachers

Where:               Roberto Clemente High School – 1147 North Western Avenue
(Janitors will join picket lines at other schools simultaneously.)

When:                 Friday, September 14, 8 a.m.



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SEIU Local 1 Stands with Chicago’s Teachers

Service Employees International Union Stands in Solidarity with 26,000 striking public school teachers, clinicians and paraprofessionals of Chicago Public Schools.

The Chicago Teachers Union is calling for a better school day and adequate resources for students, as well as fair compensation and improved job security and training for teachers. SEIU supports the CTU in their strike; however, many SEIU members are contractually obligated to work. SEIU members will continue to work at the schools to ensure the safety and health of Chicago’s schoolchildren as their teachers fight for their education.

Strong public schools are critical for working families in Chicago. SEIU Illinois calls on Chicago Public Schools to give our students, schools and teachers the resources they need to succeed.


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Hundreds of Chicago Workers and Community Groups March Through City Hall, Telling Mayor Emanuel to Stop Putting Millionaires First

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              

August 29, 2012

Contact: Leslie Mendoza Kamstra 773-896-7815 or


 Hundreds of Chicago Workers and Community Groups March Through City Hall, Telling Mayor Emanuel to Stop Putting Millionaires First


Chicago— Hundreds of Chicago workers and faith and community groups marched through City Hall today with a simple message for Mayor Rahm Emanuel: stop putting millionaires and big corporations ahead of the working families who elected you.

The protestors asked Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council to hold a hearing on the Responsible Bidders Ordinance, which would go a long way towards protecting our City’s working families from poverty and unemployment. The Mayor says that Chicago’s economy is booming, but the protestors disagree. Corporations may be booming—but the Millionaires’ Mayor is eliminating good, middle class jobs that families and communities depend on while giving millions of our tax and TIF dollars to profitable corporations.

“Chicago is becoming a city where you stay poor if you’re born poor, no matter how hard you work. Corporations and their millionaire CEOs are profiting at the expense of everyone else. That’s not what prosperity looks like,” said Ewa Miklewicz, a janitor in downtown Chicago.

The protestors delivered a letter signed by dozens of community groups in support of the Responsible Bidders Ordinance, which would ensure that the City awards contracts to companies that provide good jobs and quality services.

“As leaders of labor, community and faith-based organizations across Chicago, we are deeply concerned about the well-being of those who work for our city,” the letter states. “The work performed by dedicated service workers at our public institutions is critical. We believe that public contracting should not lead the race to the bottom… Public work should set the standard for the kind of responsible employment practices that help build a robust economy rather than further deplete it.”



SEIU Local 1 unites 50,000 property service workers in the central United States, including janitors, security officers and residential doormen. Together we work to build strength for all working people, on the job and in our communities.


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