MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Thursday, March 31st, 2016
CONTACT: Leesa Allmond firstname.lastname@example.org 405-820-5622
After Carrier and UTEC Outsource Thousands of Indy Jobs to Mexico ….
SEIU Local 1 Indy Janitors Joined by City-County Councillor Jared Evans and Community Allies to Call on Zeller to Support Good Jobs
Indianapolis— On Thursday, March 31st, SEIU Local 1 members, community supporters, City-County Councillor Jared Evans will protest in front of Market Tower in downtown Indianapolis to call on Chicago-based Zeller Realty to support good jobs. The rally comes on the heels of Carrier and UTEC moving over 2,000 jobs out of Indy and to Mexico.
Companies like Zeller Realty, who currently use janitorial contractor CCS (Corporate Cleaning Systems), contribute to a record high number of Hoosiers living in poverty as well as growth in poverty, child poverty and low-income individuals in Indiana since 2007 beyond all neighbor states and the U.S. average.1 The median income in Indiana has also continued to decline since 2000 as Indiana has lost a high number of mid-wage and high-wage jobs.
Indy workers and allies rallying downtown are linking Indy’s struggle for healthy economic development with Zeller’s use of a janitorial contractor that does not create quality jobs. They’re calling on Zeller to replace CCS with a contractor that provides decent wages, quality benefits, as well as union rights, which will then, in turn, contribute to the prosperity of Indy’s neediest communities.
WHAT: Rally to hold Zeller responsible for creating good jobs in Indy
WHEN: Thursday, March 31st at 3:15 p.m.
WHERE: Market Tower, 10 W. Market St Indianapolis, IN 46204
WHO: Dozens of SEIU Local 1 members and Community Supporters, City-County Councillor Jared Evans
VISUALS: Janitors and supporters rallying and chanting with signs and noise-makers in front of Market Tower in downtown Indianapolis.
1 (The Status of Working Families in Indiana: 2015 Report: http://www.incap.org/iiwf/2015-Status/2015-Status-IIWF-high-res.pdf)
2 (Citations: OSHA Inspection #:312892227 – 04/16/2010- 04/16/2010 – Issuance Date: 05/13/2010)
Newly ratified contract recognizes Indy’s first ever union of Security Officers.
CONTACT: Izabela Miltko – email@example.com – 708-655-9681
INDIANAPOLIS – By a significant margin, Indianapolis security officers ratified their first ever collective bargaining agreement on August 8, 2015. The 4-year contract welcomes the officers to Service Employees International Union Local 1, secures wage increases over the life of the contract, and provides officers access to the best healthcare packages available to them starting next year.
“This is a new day for the security industry in Indianapolis and a huge boost for our local economy,” said SEIU Local 1 Coordinator Amy Teitelman. “This campaign began in 2010, and to see the hard work of these officers pay off now five years later is yet another piece of the resurgence of organized labor in Indiana.”
The historic contract goes into effect on September 1, 2015 and guarantees:
The officers will join over 600 janitors in the Indianapolis division of SEIU Local 1. The janitors will host a welcoming party for nearly 300 new members on September 12 with allies and elected officials on the guest list.
“This is an historic moment,” said Indianapolis Security Officer Robert Smith. “It took us years to get here, but now we have a good first contract and we’re in great position to grow our union. It’s an important day for security officers, an important day for SEIU, and an important day for Indianapolis.”
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Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites nearly 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest. SEIU janitors, security officers, food service workers, and others are working with community leaders to advocate for the quality services the public deserves and the good jobs our communities need.
“Our recent wins are exciting, and proof that SEIU Local 1 members are leading the way for working families. The economic gains we make in our contracts not only help SEIU Local 1 members’ families live a better life, but they also promise a better future for our country.”
– Tom Balanoff, SEIU Local 1 President
The newsletter is available in:
Unions help working families fulfill their dreams in many ways. One way SEIU Local 1 does this is by providing yearly college scholarships.
SEIU Local 1 recently awarded almost $40,000 in scholarships to sixteen members’ children, including a grand prize scholarship of $10,000.
Every year, SEIU Local 1 awards college scholarships to members and their children. These scholarships enable recipients to pursue their educational goals at colleges, universities, labor study programs and technical schools. Scholarships are funded by SEIU Local 1’s annual golf outing.
On January 31st, hundreds of SEIU Local 1 member leaders from across the Midwest gathered in Chicago to make a plan to win better wages and benefits for their families, and to ultimately raise America with good jobs.
Contracts expire on April 5, 2015 for nearly 12,000 janitors in Chicago including Chicago Public School custodians and other city and county buildings along with janitors working in office buildings in downtown Chicago and across Chicagoland. Similar janitorial contracts are expiring for approximately 130,000 janitors around the country throughout 2015 and 2016; Chicago is the first city to negotiate.
Chicago’s janitors work hard to keep our offices, our schools and our city clean and healthy. They clean the equivalent of nearly 33,000 miles of office space every night, vacuuming our floors, emptying our trash, and sanitizing our bathrooms. They clean build ings of major corporations—such as JP Morgan Chase, McDonald’s, AT&T, Kraft, CME Group, United and Boeing—and public facilities like Chicago Public Schools and city, county and federal buildings.
CEOs of Chicago’s largest public corporations brought in more than $650 million in 2013. It would take a janitor in downtown Chicago more than 200 years to make what one CEO is paid in a single year. Those corporations raked in $678 billion in revenue, but as many as two thirds of all Illinois corporations are not paying any state corporate income taxes. These corporations are using their power to get millions in tax deals from the city and state.
We know that rich corporations can afford to support good jobs that boost our economy, lift our communities, and pave a better future for Chicago and the Midwest. That’s why we’re taking action to win better jobs for janitors and all workers. Raising pay will put money into the hands of working moms and dads so they can put more money back into our communities and help create more good jobs.
Indianapolis janitors and faith and community leaders took a stand for good jobs and we won. Janitors at major downtown buildings including Circle Tower, the Landmark Center and 500 N. Meridian are joining SEIU Local 1 for the first time. They won rights, a voice at work and the ability to join with janitors across the city to win better wages for their families.
Last fall, local janitor Ana Rosas sparked the campaign that led to this victory. Ana made a bold move for her children. She asked for a raise and organized to form a union. In response, her employer retaliated against her and she was left without a job.
Ana fought back courageously, and with the help of other janitors and community supporters. Her story was featured in the Indianapolis Star and NUVO. Community, faith and elected leaders rallied in support. They signed petitions, sent emails and made phone calls to Ambrose Property Group, owner of Circle Tower and several downtown buildings. Ambrose hired Ana’s employer, Sunshine Maintenance.
Now, following a federal investigation into Sunshine, Ana Rosas has been offered her job back—with nearly $3,800 in back pay.
“This is about dignity. We have to unite and stand up for ourselves to win what we need for our children,” said Ana.
Unions help working families fulfill their dreams in many ways. At SEIU Local 1, this includes yearly college scholarship opportunities. These scholarships enable SEIU Local 1 members and their children to pursue their education goals at colleges, universities, labor study programs and technical schools.
Make sure to research the following opportunities for SEIU Local 1 members and your children – the deadlines for applications are coming up!
Today, the grand jury’s decision deepens those wounds and amplifies even more the disproportionate and disparate injustices experienced by communities of color.
“For months, families across our nation have experienced collective grief and outrage over the taking of Michael Brown’s life and the resulting turmoil that has upended the community in Ferguson, Missouri. Today, the grand jury’s decision deepens those wounds and amplifies even more the disproportionate and disparate injustices experienced by communities of color. These injustices reverberate through all communities and take our nation another step away from a fair and just society.
Our disappointment in today’s decision does not extinguish the hope in our hearts for a better America for all our children regardless of where they were born or in which zip code they live.
Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. All lives matter. The dream of America can never be fully realized until justice and safety prevail in every community across our country. The Department of Justice must prioritize the investigation into the murder of Michael Brown.
SEIU members stand with our brothers and sisters in Ferguson and across the nation in expressing our grief and frustration. We join them in calling for something better for all neighborhoods and communities and joining together in peaceful demonstrations at federal courthouses across the country.
More information can be found here (http://nationalactionnetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/HANDS-UP-JUSTICE-RALLY-FLIER-11-21.pdf). We encourage all involved law enforcement to honor the rules and the rights of people to protest and speak out.
We will not rest in these efforts until America is a more just society where every human being is respected and every community has equal opportunity to thrive.
For Immediate Release: November 24, 2014
Media Contact: Beau Boughamer; firstname.lastname@example.org; 202/765-9143
By Amber Stearns
NUVO | October 31. 2014
Ana Rosas used to clean the offices of Ambrose Property Group as a janitor working for Sunshine Maintenance Services.
When she hired into the position at $8 an hour, Ana knew it wasn’t enough to live on and support her family, so she asked how long until a raise would be considered.
She was told six months.
So, Ana did her job to the best of her ability. She cleaned tables, floors, bathrooms, offices and entire floors. Ana, a fellow co-worker, and her supervisor cleaned four floors in the Ambrose building every night, then walked down the block to clean another building.
After six months on the job and a clean record, Ana approached her supervisor about the raise she thought she was eligible to receive.
“Then he came back to me and said the manager (of Sunshine Management) said ‘this comes from the president.’ He said there is no money and that there are a stack of applications and the door is wide open.”
(Ana spoke with me through translator Monica Morales because she speaks little to no English.)
“Two months later I insisted again because $8 is not enough,” said Ana. “$283 a week is not enough to pay my bills, food, house, help my kids out with their education.”
Ana is the single mother of two; she has a daughter, 19, and a son, 16. Her husband died before her son was born. Her daughter is a student at Ivy Tech and IUPUI studying mechanical engineering. She says it was watching her daughter go to school and work at the same time to pay for it that prompted her to seek out more money from her employer.
“She doesn’t sleep she goes to work early in the morning then to school then back to work,” said Ana. “I know that what she is studying is really really hard and she needs to study and it makes me feel helpless because I can’t help her out.”
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 in Indianapolis got involved with Ana’s situation and has been helping her with case. With their advice, Ana approached Sunshine Management again for a raise in pay and for the right to form a union among the other employees. Both requests were denied and Ana lost her job.
Ana has since talked to Ambrose Property Group to let them know the actions of the company they hired and how their employees were treated. Their response was very positive, immediately asking what they could do to help.
“They (Ambrose) needed to know that the company they hired is paying us really low wages. I clean the president’s desk and I can see how they live,” said Ana, referring to the pictures of family, vacations, and other things that decorated the office. “How nice would that be to dedicate time to your family.”
Ana also filed a formal charge of unfair labor practice against Sunshine Maintenance and her case is under federal investigation. The regional labor board is scheduled to interview Ana as they investigate the Sunshine’s actions. SEIU Local 1 spokesperson Leslie Mendoza Kamstra says they hope Ana will be able to get her job back with a raise.
Ana says SEIU Local 1 has been very supportive in her fight for better wages and benefits and says she would do it again.
“Because we need to fight for our rights,’ said Ana. “It is enough of them stepping all over us. Our work should count.”
She also says that anyone else in the same situation should no be afraid to speak up and fight for what they deserve.
“Don’t give up,” said Ana. “There are unions. There are allies in the community, faith allies in our churches. We are not alone.
By Fran Quigley
Indianapolis Star | November 19. 2014
Judging by online message boards and the pronouncements of some politicians, it is easy for some of us to treat the working poor as an abstraction.
So allow me to introduce Ana Rosas. If the statistic that one in every four private sector workers earns less than $10 per hour seems a little remote, ask Rosas about the challenge of working as a janitor in Downtown Indianapolis. She can tell you how wages of $8 per hour, and take-home pay of less than $300 each week, translates to standing in line at the church food pantry. Ask her about her humiliation when asking for loans from family and friends in order to pay the rent.
Perhaps it is tempting to dismiss the working poor as somewhat lazy. That temptation disappears when Rosas describes the excruciating back and leg pain that is a predictable result of a 54-year-old woman mopping, vacuuming and hauling trash 40 hours each week. Like nearly half of the Indiana private sector workforce, Rosas had no paid sick days in her janitorial job. Every evening, she put aside her pain and limped into work.
Record levels of local and national income inequality may not seem tangible to us. If so, ask Rosas about how she scrubbed the toilets used by lawyers and business executives who take home wages 10 times or greater than hers. During the day, the occupants of those offices arrange for vacation homes and season tickets. At night, Rosas wipes down their desks and worries about eviction notices and filling prescriptions.
Maybe we shake our head in disapproval at teenagers flunking out of school after no one was home to oversee homework. Judgment becomes a little harder to issue when Rosas explains that her husband died when she was pregnant with their second child. Leaving her teenagers home while she worked until 1AM was a necessity, not a choice.
The limited protection of U.S. labor laws can seem like just words on a page. The one in five union activists who get fired for speaking out may come off as mere data points. At least until you talk with Rosas about when she asked for a raise and expressed her desire to be represented by the Service Employees International Union. She was fired days later.
An unfair labor practice charge has been filed and awaits a ruling. But, in the meantime, Rosas is without permanent work, and the company is likely to be safe from any more union talk at the workplace. The worst-case scenario for the company is likely being forced to give Rosas some back pay. As University of Oregon professor Gordon Lafer has said, U.S. labor law’s limited deterrence to employers is akin to making the worst punishment for a burglar the prospect that they may have to return the stolen items.
It is not surprising that Ana Rosas is invisible to so many of us. The lawyers and the business executives whose offices she cleaned work for big-name companies whose names we all would recognize. But they did not directly employ Ana Rosas or her colleagues. The law firms and corporations leave that to a property manager, Ambrose Property Group. Turns out Ambrose delegates that unpleasantness out, too, leaving the janitors to work for a low-profile contractor, Sunshine Maintenance Services. (Ambrose declined to comment for this column, saying the matter is between Sunshine and its employee. Sunshine did not reply to my request for comment.)
So you may not know Ana Rosas. But she knows you. She knows people think $7.25 per hour is just fine for a minimum wage. She knows that people believe employers should be able to crush a union whenever they wish.
But she wonders if you would still hold onto those views if you had to confront her reality. If you had to go to work when you were sick or hurt. If you were fired for speaking out. If you tried raising a family on poverty wages.
Rosas has been composed while explaining her struggles, but finally her voice starts to rise. “Are you able to live on $8 per hour?” she asks. “Do the math and tell me how this is supposed to work.”
Now, tears of frustration begin to flow. They are no abstraction, either.
Quigley is a clinical professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.