Illinois

Local 1 Constitution and Bylaws Amended!

page 1At the June 1st, 2013 membership meeting, Local 1 members from 11 cities and 6 states overwhelmingly approved constitutional and bylaw amendments by a 94% vote. The final vote tally was 366 in favor of the amendments and 22 against.

Click here for a copy of the most recent and up-to-date Local 1 constitution.

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Our City. Our Schools. Our Voice.

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Asean Johnson brings about a thousand supporters to tears. Watch his speech here: http://youtu.be/vWp4uzmjwEM

On May 18, 19, and 20 of 2013, hundreds of teachers, students, custodians, lunchroom workers, and supporters marched for three days in protest of the largest school closing in US history. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced early in 2013 that they were planning to shutter 54 schools by the end of 2013. The schools are located on Chicago’s South and West sides, home to widespread poverty and criminal activity. The closing and consolidating of these schools will directly impact nearly 40,000 children in the Chicago area and will eliminate close to 3500 jobs.

On May 22, CPS announced that they will only close 49 of the 54 schools. Though we are happy for the schools that will be spared (Mahalia Jackson Elementary and Leif Ericson Elementary to name two), the fight against CPS closings is not over. In solidarity with Unite HERE, Action Now, and the Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1 will continue to protest the largest school closing in US history. It’s going to be a long summer, and we will not be silent.

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O’Hare Janitors Urge United Maintenance to Recognize Their Union

***News Advisory for Tuesday, May 14 at 10am***

In defiance of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to lower wages at O’Hare, janitors call for union recognition with support from aldermen…

O’Hare janitors choose SEIU in hope of better future

Who:                O’Hare Janitors, Members of the Chicago City Council, Jorge Ramirez-President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, SEIU members and officers, non-union airport workers

What:               O’Hare workers call for union recognition

Where:            City Hall, 121 N LaSalle – 2nd Floor

When:              Tuesday, May 14 at 10am

More than 70 percent of O’Hare janitors are coming together for better jobs and have chosen SEIU to represent their interests. Last December, Mayor Emanuel awarded a $100 million O’Hare cleaning contract to a company with longstanding ties to organized crime that promised to lower wages by 30 percent. As a result, hundreds of union workers lost their jobs and now the nonunion, largely new workforce is fighting to restore family-sustaining wages and benefits at O’Hare. The janitors will call on Mayor Emanuel to urge his contractor, United Maintenance, to recognize SEIU as their legal representative and bargain in good faith.

Contact: Leslie Mendoza Kamstra 773-896-7815 or mendozal@seiu1.org

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Union Plus

As an SEIU Local 1 member or retiree, you are entitled to member-only rates, discounts and special offers from Union Plus. The Union Plus program is brought to us by the AFL-CIO to provide consumer benefits to union members. To view a full list of programs and discounts, including mortgages, travel discounts, entertainment coupons, and prepaid debit cards, visit www.unionplus.org or call 1-800-452-9425.

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SEIU Security Officers Approve Historic Contract [Progress Illinois]

from Progress Illinois, 4/23/2013

SEIU* security officers have reached an agreement with the Building Owners and Manager’s Association (BOMA), voting unanimously for a three-year contract that went into effect Sunday.

The contract secures annual wage increases for the security officers and keeps comprehensive family health insurance intact for the workers and their families.

“When responsible companies do their part and invest in good jobs with family health care and a livable wage, our whole city benefits,” said Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1. “This three year agreement will boost our local economy in the communities that need it most. Now we will call on employers in the suburbs to follow BOMA’s lead and invest in good jobs that support hard working families.”

The workers have been rallying for a fair contract that included a wage increase since March, as Progress Illinois has previously covered. The new contract will bring in more than $4,000 in increased wages for the security officers.

“We worked hard, we persevered, we fought, and we won. Now we can feel a little better about our jobs, and, ultimately, our lives,” said Tonya Yarbrough, a security officer at the Chicago Stock Exchange. “This contract is not going to fix our neighborhoods overnight; but if we come together and fight for our neighborhoods the way that we fought for our jobs, we can make a safer Chicago.

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Downtown Security’s Historic New Contract

Tanya Robinson calls for a unanimous vote at the 4/20 contract ratification meeting.

Tanya Robinson calls for a unanimous vote at the 4/20 contract ratification meeting.

While Chicago’s security officers protect corporations that generate more than $500 billion a year, most of them go home to the most dangerous and economically depressed communities in the city. Starting in January, a dedicated security brigade took to the streets to rally support as they fought for fair wages. On April 20th, security officers unanimously approved a new union contract that preserves their ability to support their families. About 2,000 officers and their families will benefit from more than $4,000 in increased wages and access to family health care over the next three years. Together, the officers will bring $8.9 million into the local economy, pumping much needed resources into our city’s struggling neighborhoods. Winning the highest wage increase in SEIU Local 1 Security history, downtown security officers fought hard for good jobs and a safer Chicago… and they won.

“We worked hard, we persevered, we fought, and we won. Now we can feel a little better about our jobs, and, ultimately, our lives,” says Tonya Yarbrough, a security officer at the Chicago Stock Exchange. “This contract is not going to fix our neighborhoods overnight; but if we come together and fight for our neighborhoods the way that we fought for our jobs, we can make a safer Chicago.”

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Chicago Security Officers, Building Owners and Security Contractors Invest in Good Jobs, Pump $8.9 Million into City’s Neglected Neighborhoods

***Advisory for Monday, April 22, 2013***

CONTACT: Leslie Mendoza Kamstra 773-896-7815 or mendozal@seiu1.org

Security officers unanimously approve contract agreement benefiting both their families and communities 

CHICAGO—Downtown security officers are partnering with Chicago’s Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) to invest in good jobs and take action to create a safer Chicago. While Chicago’s security officers protect corporations that generate more than $500 billion a year, most of them go home to the most dangerous and economically depressed communities in the city.

Unanimously, the security officers approved a new union contract that preserves their ability to support their families. About 2,000 working families will benefit from more than $4,000 in increased wages and access to family health care over the next three years. Together, the officers will bring $8.9 million into the local economy, pumping much needed resources into our city’s struggling neighborhoods.

“When responsible companies do their part and invest in good jobs with family health care and a livable wage, our whole city benefits,” says Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1. “This three year agreement will boost our local economy in the communities that need it most. Now we will call on employers in the suburbs to follow BOMA’s lead and invest in good jobs that support hard working families.”

The new three year downtown security officers’ union contract, which goes into effect April 21, guarantees:

  • Annual wage increases for security officers, the majority of whom are African American and live in the city’s most impoverished, under-resourced neighborhoods where 80 percent of Chicago’s more than 500 murders occurred in 2012.
  • Protection of quality, family health insurance.  The security officers’ plan provides comprehensive coverage for the officers and their families at a significantly lower cost than the average family health plan in Illinois.

“We worked hard, we persevered, we fought, and we won. Now we can feel a little better about our jobs, and, ultimately, our lives,” says Tonya Yarbrough, a security officer at the Chicago Stock Exchange. “This contract is not going to fix our neighborhoods overnight; but if we come together and fight for our neighborhoods the way that we fought for our jobs, we can make a safer Chicago.”

More than 5,000 security officers in the suburbs will work to settle their contract by the end of 2013.

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

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O’Hare janitors opt for rival union that’s friendly with Rahm [Chicago Sun-Times]

BY DAN MIHALOPOULOS Staff Reporter dmihalopoulos@suntimes.com April 5, 2013 2:00PM

A bitter loss for a labor union that’s feuding with Mayor Rahm Emanuel has turned into gain for some of Emanuel’s best friends in organized labor.

Janitors’ union leaders complained that 300 members lost their jobs a few days before Christmas because Emanuel signed a $99.4 million deal with a new contractor to clean O’Hare Airport. Now, the replacement airport janitors have joined the Teamsters — one of the few unions that supported Emanuel’s 2011 mayoral campaign.

SEIU leaders — who were neutral in the 2011 mayor’s race and have since criticized Emanuel frequently — filed a complaint Thursday with the National Labor Relations Board. They say the city’s new airport janitorial contractor, United Maintenance Cos. Inc., “unlawfully coerced” its airport employees to become Teamsters.

Nora Kelley, chief of staff at SEIU Local 1, said United Maintenance and city officials refused to arrange access to the workers for SEIU to try to organize them. “Instead, they granted preferential access” to the Teamsters, Kelley said.

A Teamsters spokesman did not return calls seeking comment, but United Maintenance lawyer Thomas Mandler said the company’s O’Hare workers voted earlier this week to join Teamsters Local 727. Mandler said city officials played no role in negotiations.

Asked about charges that City Hall favored the Teamsters, Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton replied in an email that the matter is “a dispute between two labor organizations.” She added that the city “supports the rights of the employees of United Maintenance to bargain collectively.”

During the 2011 mayoral campaign, as many of the largest public employees’ unions opposed Emanuel, he received a key endorsement from Teamsters leader John Coli.

United Maintenance CEO Richard Simon also is well-acquainted with the Teamsters. A review board appointed to root out corruption and mob influence in the Teamsters alleged in 2002 that Simon colluded with union bosses, including William Hogan Jr., to undermine the union’s contract in Las Vegas.

After the five-year O’Hare contract took effect in December, five aldermen asked Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to investigate. They cited a Chicago Sun-Times story that revealed how Simon sold a 50 percent stake in United Maintenance but did not report the ownership change to Emanuel administration officials for a year. That could have been grounds for voiding the contract, but Emanuel aides chose not to punish United Maintenance.

The mayor also shrugged off Simon’s business ties to an alleged organized-crime figure and United Maintenance’s employment of an executive who was indicted with the late Outfit boss Anthony “Big Tuna” Accardo.

 

http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/19275483-418/new-ohare-janitors-opt-for-rival-union.html

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More than 100 Arrested Protesting Mass School Closings In Chicago [The Real News]

by Jaisal Noor, March 28, 2013

Transcript:

CROWD: Save our schools!

JAISAL NOOR, PRODUCER, TRNN: In Chicago, some 150 people were arrested on Wednesday, March 27, protesting plans to close 61 public schools, the largest such wave of school closures ever.

The city announced the plan last week, saying it was necessary to help bridge a billion-dollar budget deficit and to free resources to be invested in the city’s remaining schools.

At a news conference before the protest, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel publicly defended the plan. He said despite the plan’s unpopularity, it would improve the city’s schools, saying, quote, “When our educational system has unequal results, you cannot lock in the status quo.”

A few hours later, labor, parent, religious, and community groups flooded downtown Chicago to voice their opposition.

KAREN LEWIS, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION: The message is this isn’t over. No matter what they think or what they believe, this is not over. There are a variety of ways to deal with this, but one of the most important ways is to motivate people to take responsibility for their own destinies. And that’s what this is about.

NOOR: And why direct action? Why civil disobedience?

LEWIS: Well, because that’s the actual area where the people have control. We don’t have control over the courts. We don’t have control over the legal system. We certainly don’t have control over the legislature. But this is a place where we do have some control.

NOOR: Thousands attended, and at least 150 sat down in the street, locked arms, and were detained and ticketed when they refused to move.

The Real News interviewed some of those who took part in the civil disobedience just before their arrest. Here are some of their voices.

JERRY WARD, PROTESTER: My name is Jerry Ward. I’m out here because we need to save these schools. We need to save our children. Our neighborhoods are screwed up and we don’t need any schools taken away from our children. That’s why I’m here. I’m making my voice heard, and we’re making our children’s voices heard. That’s why I’m here right now and that’s what I’m doing.

KEITH BLUM, CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER: It’s important for us to fight here, because this is where this whole thing started, this whole reform movement. And if we don’t nip it in the bud here, it’s just going to go across the United States. And it’ll be a horrible, horrible experience for children and teachers and the society in general if this continues to make it across the United States. We have to break this.

EMILIA FORTUNADO, UNITE HERE!: My name’s Emilia Fortunado. I’m with UNITE HERE! We’re the union that represents the cafeteria workers to work in the schools. I’m out here because I don’t want to see the schools get shut down. I think this is a racist attack on our schools and, honestly, on black jobs in Chicago. The public sector is where black workers work, and our cafeteria workers are not going to let that happen. So that’s why we’re out here today.

UNIDENTIFIED: I’m [incompr.] I’m here for once for the kids, the teachers, the lunchroom managers, and us janitors. We all need our jobs. And they’re making it hard for kids to learn, ’cause how can they learn if they’re at a school where the only thing they can think about is getting back home?

NOOR: Reporting for The Real News, this is Jaisal Noor in Chicago.

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Civil Disobedience Revs Up Against School Closings [WBEZ]

by Linda Lutton, March 28, 2013

More than 100 people were detained and ticketed yesterday afternoon at a protest against proposed school closings. It was the first major protest since the district announced last week it wants to shut down 54 schools. WBEZ was there.

About a thousand people packed Daley Plaza in 40 degree temperatures to denounce the massive closings, most planned for the South and West sides of the city. As they held signs deriding the mayor, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told them: these schools are not closed yet.

“There are many ways you can show that this is not over,” Lewis said from the stage. “It’s not over, brothers and sisters, until you say it’s over. Our schools are under attack. What do we do?”

“Fight back!” the crowd yelled in unison.

“So lemme tell you what you’re gonna do. On the first day of school, you show up at your real school! You show up at your real school! Don’t let these people take your schools!”

The union has promised that if Chicago shuts down schools, protesters will shut down the city.

A few minutes later, in front of City Hall, janitors, lunch ladies, teachers, parents, clergy and union officials interlocked arms and sat down in neat rows in the northbound lanes of LaSalle Street.

“Save our schools,” they chanted.

After a time, police approached each protester individually.

‘Ma’am, you’re in violation of the law and you’re endangering yourself. This is your last opportunity to leave without being arrested. Will you leave? ” a white-shirted officer asked one protester after the next. “You’re under arrest,” he told them.

Police now say people were simply ticketed, not arrested.

Karen Lewis and the Rev. Jesse Jackson stood together on the sidewalk as protesters were led away.

Jackson said the protests follow in the tradition of Ghandi and Martin Luther King—with people using their bodies so their cause can be heard.

“We earnestly want our children to have an education and security and safety. And their parents have a job and transportation, and housing—that’s a comprehensive plan for the urban crisis,” Jackson said. “South Side and West Side must look like the North Side, and that must look like the suburbs.”

Earlier in the day, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the reason for closing schools was to give kids a better education. He cited graduation figures that have been climbing, but noted that for black boys in the city, the graduation rate is just 44.5 percent.

“The status quo is not working, and it’s falling woefully short for the children of the city of Chicago, regardless of where they live and regardless of their circumstances. Every one of the children—if they go to a better school—can achieve their potential.”

Orquidia Ramos pushed a stroller through the march, with her older daughter walking alongside her. Ramos has four children at Peabody, slated to be closed. She lives on the same block as the school. She says her tax bill doubled—and now, with Peabody closing, she feels the message is clear: the city is trying to get rid of lower income Latino families like hers. She doesn’t believe the receiving school will be better for her kids.

“As parents we try to watch out for our kids,” she said in Spanish, ‘keep them away from gangs. Then the school system sends them right into the gangs.”

Eighteen-year-old high school senior Lavell Short won’t be personally affected by the closings, but he was at the march after he heard his elementary school was on the list.

“A part of me got very angry, but it was a righteous anger–it wasn’t just rage,” said Lavell. “Mayo is a school that teaches me principles, Mayo is a school that taught me about leadership and who I am, not only my history but also who I can also be. So, to close down a school like Mayo…. And there’s so many schools on the list like Mayo.”

You wouldn’t guess it by talking to Lavell, but Mayo is rated Level 3 by the district, the lowest performing. He now attends Bronzeville Military Academy High School.

Like a lot of people at the protest, Lavell isn’t fond of the mayor right now. Right after telling me he’s headed to Milliken University in Decatur, he said there was something else I should know….

“I’m considering running for mayor in the 2015 election, so… I’m considering it! Be on the lookout, you guys.”

If he and other protesters get their way, Lavell might be handing out campaign flyers that brag, “I helped keep Mayo Elementary open.”

Click here for a picture slideshow from WBEZ.

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