Indiana

SEIU Local 1 Member Newsletter – Summer 2014

Layout 1Stay informed on what is happening across your local.

“We need a strong economy that works for all—not just the wealthy few. Chicago should be the next big city to pay workers the wages they need to provide a decent life for themselves and a better one for their children.” Tom Balanoff, SEIU Local 1 President

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2014 Member/Supporter Survey

2014 Survey ResultsMore than 700 SEIU Local 1 members and supporters shared what was important to them and how our union can improve in our 2014 Member and Supporter Survey.

The most important issues to participants were creating good jobs that can support a family and reducing income inequality in our country. The aspects of their jobs they most want to improve are their wages, your retirement benefits and your healthcare.

Local 1 members and supporters are fighting to achieve all of these goals.

Participants – mostly members – described the SEIU Local 1 mission in their own words, but many used the same ones. Words like lead, fight, help, strengthen, organize, advocate and build. SEIU Local 1 members and supporters do all of those things every day without tiring.

As a union and as a country, we face a lot of challenges. Working together is the only way to win better wages and benefits and start addressing income inequality in our country. SEIU Local 1 understands that we are all striving for the same goal and together we can realize it.

Check out the survey results—and thank you for staying connected.

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SEIU Local 1 2013 Annual Report

View our annual report to see what Local 1 has accomplished in 2013:

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Realize Your College Dreams

scholarship winner seiu local 1Unions 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!

  • SEIU Local 1 offers various scholarships to its members’ children, with a top scholarship of $10,000 – the deadline to apply is Friday, April 4th. Download the two-part application here.
  • Chicago Federation of Labor offers Chicagoland members scholarships based on either lottery or academic excellence for $1,000 – deadline is March 1, 2014. See more information here.
  • SEIU International offers various college scholarships – the deadline is March 3, 2014. See more information here.
  • Union Plus has college scholarships available from $400 to $4,000 – deadline is January 31, 2014. See more information here.
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John Bartlett, Representante Estatal y los Conserjes Hacen un Llamado a las Corporaciones para que Restauren Buenos Empleos y Oportunidades en Indy [La Voz de Indiana]

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Con Dos Trabajos , Suigen Luchando para Salir Adelante: Conserjes Locales Empujan para Sueldos Mejores. [La Voz De Indiana]

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Low fast-food wages force workers to seek public aid, Indianapolis protesters say [INDYSTAR]

(Photo: Michelle Pemberton/The Star )

McDonald’s restaurant crew member Dwight Murray has worked four years for the fast-food giant, pulls downs $8 an hour and also relies on food stamps to help support himself and a daughter.

The 27-year-old said he needs food stamps because his barely above-minimum wage doesn’t stretch far enough, even when he works a full 40-hour week.

“There’s no money left for groceries,” Murray says.

Which is why Murray decided to march Tuesday in front of the McDonald’s at 16th and Meridian streets in Indianapolis as part of a union-organized protest in 20 cities of the low wages that are common in the fast-food industry.

“We can’t afford to support ourselves and our families,” said Murray, who marched outside the restaurant over the lunch hour in his black McDonald’s uniform shirt. “To me, if we work here, why do we have to depend on Social Security and food stamps?”

The rally by the Fight for 15 campaign, which has support from the Service Employees International Union and Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, cites a new study by the University of California-Berkeley that found 52 percent of line workers at fast-food restaurants must rely on food stamps or other forms of public assistance to support their families.

The total taxpayer tab for welfare for fast-food workers: nearly $7 billion a year, according to the study. About $1.2 billion of assistance goes to McDonald’s workers alone, the study says.

It was that whopping tax-supported assistance that prompted Fran Quigley, a law professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, to hang a placard in Spanish around his neck saying “Huelga Por 15” and join the 17-person rally.

“I am tired of subsidizing the McDonald’s poverty-level wages,” Quigley said. “The cheap food we enjoy comes at a cost to us — in public assistance.”

In a statement Tuesday, McDonald’s said its wages “are based on local wage laws and are competitive to similar jobs in that market. We also provide training and professional development opportunities to anyone that works in one of our restaurants.”

Rally organizers want the Indiana legislature to increase the state’s $7.25 minimum wage, said Nancy Guyott, president of the Indiana State AFL-CIO, who briefly marched in the rally.

Big fast-food franchises “have the means to do that (raise wages) but instead they are shifting the cost to the taxpayers,” she said. “This is a societal problem we need to fix.”

Bill Church, a Carmel restaurant franchise consultant who also is president of the Mr. Dan’s hamburger chain in Indianapolis, said fast-food operators operate on thin profit margins and raising wages is “not feasible” for most. “You just can’t make dollars out of thin air to pay people (more),” he said.

And low wages are hardly confined to the fast-food industry, Church said. “Movie theaters and car washes. There are a lot of other industries as well … in that same pay scale.”

Rally organizers said they aren’t asking the public to boycott McDonald’s or other fast-food franchises over the wages they pay.

 By Jeff Swiatek, jeff.swiatek@indystar.com8:57 p.m. EDT October 15, 2013

Call Star reporter Jeff Swiatek at (317) 444-6483. Follow him on Twitter: @JeffSwiatek.

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Service union contract good for all Hoosiers [INDYSTAR]

Earlier this week, in a dimly lit, overcrowded room in the basement of Jordan Hall on Butler University’s Northside campus, an event occurred with huge significance for the Indiana economy.

The economic leaders in that room were not business executives or politicians wearing suits and ties. They were cooks and cashiers and dishwashers, wearing black uniform shirts and pants along with chef hats and hairnets. For many, their clothes and their faces showed the effects of a long shift on their feet, cooking and serving meals and cleaning up afterward.

These Hoosiers are workers at Butler’s food-service operation, sub-contracted by the university to multi-national company Aramark. At their meeting this week, the workers approved their first contract, an agreement negotiated by their co-workers and their new union, UNITE HERE.

After eight months of negotiations — and some worker protests and displays of community and student support — the company and its

(Photo: Tom Spalding)

workers agreed to terms that included immediate raises and sustained wage increases over the life of the four-year contract. Starting salaries will be higher, health-care costs will drop, and the company agreed to match contributions to a 401(k) retirement plan. The contract also includes improved access to year-round employment, a critical issue for on-campus workers.

In reaching these terms, these Butler workers joined food service and campus operations workers at Marian University, who agreed to similar terms with Aramark last week. These new contracts mean that 500 service and hospitality workers, including workers at IUPUI and the Indianapolis International Airport, are now receiving higher wages and better benefits thanks to recent union contracts. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is working to earn similar contracts for our city’s janitors and security guards.

These developments are good news for all Hoosiers. For many of our neighbors, service-sector jobs are the only work available in our modern economy. These are sustainable jobs, an important feature in a state scarred by the exodus of high-paying manufacturing work. The tasks of washing dishes, cleaning hotel rooms and cooking meals are jobs that cannot be outsourced to a Bangladeshi sweatshop or to a call center overseas.

The workers at Butler, Marian and beyond are proving that such jobs have dignity, and do not have to be characterized by low pay and uncertain tenure. This week’s result is not an anomaly: Unionization of service-sector work has been shown to reliably and significantly increase workers’ wages and benefits.

In the early and mid-20th century, the union movement turned once low-paying manufacturing jobs into solid careers that allowed workers to buy homes and send their kids to college. Workers joining together can do the same for service-sector jobs today. Across Indianapolis, they have already started doing just that.

 

Fran Quigley3:40 p.m. EDT September 20, 2013

Quigley is a clinical professor at Indiana University McKinney School of Law.

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Janitors, supporters rally Downtown [NUVO]

“What do we want?”
“Justice!”
“When do we want it?”
“Now!”


The chants of three dozen janitors and their supporters, accompanied by the boom of a large bass drum, echoed off the sides of the massive Chase Tower on Monument Circle during last Thursday afternoon’s rush hour.

The janitors are members of Service Employees International Union Local 1, and they were complaining about the wages paid by the contractor ABM. The multinational corporation employs the workers who clean the Chase Tower and several other office buildings downtown. The rally comes on the heels of recent janitors’ strikes in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio. The janitors begin contract negotiations with the company in December.

“We and the other members of the contractors association are committed to reaching an agreement in the mutual best interest of all involved parties – employees, companies and customers alike,” said Chas Strong, spokesperson for ABM. “The current collective bargaining agreement, which was negotiated by the union, provides employees with wages and benefits – all according to the terms approved by the union and its membership. We look forward to the beginning of negotiations next month and will work hard at the bargaining table to achieve a successful resolution.”

According to the SEIU, the median salary for janitors in Indianapolis is less than $14,000 a year, and many of the workers are forced to rely on taxpayer-funded programs to meet basic needs such as healthcare, food, and housing.

 

By: NUVO Editors, November 12th, 2013

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Indy janitors want living wage jobs [Indianapolis Recorder]

Author Campbell has something to say to Indianapolis citizens who are concerned about poverty in our city: “Let’s make the jobs we have pay a wage that allows a family to afford the costs of living.”

Campbell works cleaning an Eli Lilly and Co. building, and he is a steward for SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 1. The union represents a group of 700 local workers who clean the majority of downtown Indianapolis’ office space, including the offices for Eli Lilly, Simon Property Group and WellPoint.

Most of these janitors are paid around $9 per hour by contractors, and are usually given less than 30 hours a week of work. They have no retirement plan.

Campbell and other union leaders began negotiations with the contractors this week.

“We want janitors here to be able to support a family with their work,” Campbell says, pointing out that janitors in other cities often make several dollars per hour more than their counterparts in Indianapolis. “We want better wages and health care that is affordable.”

Some Indianapolis janitors have to work two jobs to make ends meet. Enriqueta Sanchez works one job during the day and at night cleans offices at the 300 North Meridian building, one of the city’s tallest buildings and home to some of the community’s most prestigious law and accounting firms.

Sanchez picks up garbage, mops floors and vacuums carpets until midnight. It is an exhausting double-shift routine, but she sees no other choice. With low wages, it takes two jobs to pay the bills.

After six years of working for GSF-USA cleaning office buildings, Sanchez makes $8.90 per hour. According to GSF-USA’s website, its parent company Group Services France employs more than 25,000 people worldwide. The company’s most recent reported revenue, for 2008, was more than $700 million. GSF did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment for this article.

Union members also argue that Indiana taxpayers are helping subsidize these cleaning companies by footing the bill for their employees’ health care. Sanchez’s grandchildren are on Medicaid, and Sanchez is among many janitors who use the Wishard-Eskenazi Health clinics or emergency room because they cannot afford the employer’s offered health insurance.

Campbell says the workers’ concerns are not just about the numbers on the paycheck. They want to be recognized for their work in a way that allows them to care for themselves and their loved ones, something he says every working person deserves. “Most of all, it is about self-dignity,” Campbell says.

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013 10:58 am | Updated: 11:01 am, Thu Jul 25, 2013.

By Fran Quigley

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