Indy Leaders Kick Off Their Contract Campaign!

SEIU Local 1 members, joined by dozens of labor and community allies, came together on Saturday, April 28 to kick off the Indianapolis contract campaign. The leaders and allies heard stories from members regarding issues impacting Local 1 members in Indianapolis, including healthcare, poverty wages, part-time work and others. They were inspired by stories of Chicago Public Schools janitors’ recent contract victory delivered by members who traveled from Chicago for the event, along with Secretary-Treasurer Laura Garza.

Community allies in attendance included: Unite HERE Local 23; Faith in Indiana; Indiana Labor for Our Revolution; DSA; Younger Women’s Task Force of Greater Lafayette; Central Indiana Jobs With Justice; Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky; Indianapolis Worker Justice Center; Poor People’s Campaign; Central Indiana United Way; and students faculty and staff from various colleges and universities. During breakout sessions, the member leaders and the outside groups, including labor allies, strategized how they were going to win in Indy and the actions needed leading up to negotiations.

 Indianapolis will be holding their contract convention on June 23 at 11 a.m. on Monument Square.

Together We Rise!

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SEIU Local 1 Members Join Senator Bernie Sanders and Chuck Jones on stage at the “Good Jobs Nation” Rally

CONTACT: Leesa Allmond,, 312-233-8732

Izabela Miltko-Ivkovich,, 708-655-9681

SEIU Local 1 Members Join Senator Bernie Sanders and Chuck Jones on stage at the “Good Jobs Nation” Rally

INDIANAPOLIS – The following statement is on behalf of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1. Today, SEIU Local 1 members Adela Cruz, Rosalba Melchor, and Doris Jones joined Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and  retired President of United Steelworkers Local 1999 Chuck Jones, on stage at the “Good Jobs Nation” Rally: 

“Today, Local 1 janitors are being recognized at the ‘Good Jobs Nation’ Rally alongside Senator Bernie Sanders as an example of how the working families of Indy are fighting back and winning in the face of an economy and presidency that puts working people last.

“For months, SEIU Local 1 janitors in Indianapolis lead the fight against irresponsible, non-union janitorial contractors that undercut standards for the entire city  in two downtown buildings.

“Through the relentless organizing efforts of Local 1  janitors, property management of the prominent Gold Building and 251 E. Ohio kicked out the non-union janitorial contractor and hired a union janitorial contractor – whose janitors come back to work tomorrow, August 22nd.

“This is a huge win for our whole city because when the working families of Indianapolis succeed, we all succeed.”



Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest including janitors, security officers, higher education faculty, food service workers, and others. Local 1 is committed to improving the lives of its members and all working people by winning real economic justice and standing at the forefront of the fight for immigrant, racial, and environmental justice.

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Labor movement turns to social activism to attract millennials

Police shootings, LGBT rights and immigration issues often are not associated with the traditional American labor movement.

But for Paul Nappier, a 30 year-old organizer for the Service Employees International Union Local 1 in Indianapolis, these are the issues that affect his members.

Many local members have undocumented family members, friends who have been killed by police and many themselves live in poverty, he says in a dusty union hall on West Washington Street.

That is why Nappier and several other millennial Indianapolis labor leaders rally and protest for activist causes that have little to do with workplace conditions.

“People, especially younger people today, are completely dissatisfied with the income disparities and racism we’ve inherited,” Nappier said, adding that “for too long, organized labor has ignored these issues.”

Only recently have large international unions come to terms with issues of racism and sexism. In February 2015, the AFL-CIO created a new Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice to examine racial issues within labor.

 Nappier says the need for change within the labor movement to address social justice issues is pressing, especially as union ranks are increasingly thin and more diverse. Nationally, union membership has declined by 2.9 million since 1983. The percentage of the workforce belonging unions dropped to 11.1 percent in 2015 from 20.1 percent in 1983.


Today, the membership of SEIU Local 1, for instance, is 30 percent immigrants, many of them women, Nappier said.


And the data show that there is an untapped segment of workers for the service industry union. In the service industry, black workers comprise 20.5 percent of all combined food-preparation and serving workers, while Hispanics are 18.7 percent of those workers, according to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Additionally, in 2015, millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Nappier said his next challenge is getting more younger people signed up for union membership.

While millennials (people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s) hold a much more favorable view of labor unions than do older Americans — statistics show that they are the least likely age group to be union members.

Marquita Walker, a labor studies professor at Indiana University, says that may be because unions were traditionally exclusionary to women and people of color.

“And there is still a great deal of bias in promoting these people to leaders in the movement,” she said.

Be sure to check out the full video over at The Indy Star!

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Immigrant workers call for equality at May Day protest

Indy May Day“My name is Maria and I’m not ashamed to clean toilets,” said the Indianapolis custodian, in her native Spanish, standing on the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Maria Segovia, a Mexican immigrant, was one of more than 700 protesters, including low-income workers, union organizers, communists, a hodgepodge of progressive types and passersby, who took to the streets of Downtown Indianapolis on Monday afternoon.

They joined hundreds of thousands of demonstrators attending May Day events nationwide to protest the policies of President Donald Trump.

May Day — also known as International Worker’s Day — has spawned protests around the globe in past years highlighting workers’ rights. But on Monday, the impetus for the U.S. marches spanned from immigrants’ rights to LGBT awareness to police misconduct.

“Indiana needs good jobs and Indiana needs good jobs for immigrant families,” said Paul Napier, head of the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 900 custodial workers in Indianapolis.

“And we know that when we fight, we will win.”

Read the full story over at the Indy Star!

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SEIU Local 1 Indy Janitors Joined by City-County Councillor Jared Evans and Community Allies to Call on Zeller to Support Good Jobs

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Thursday, March 31st, 2016

CONTACT: Leesa Allmond 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.




  • It was announced earlier this year that Carrier and UTEC will be shutting down and moving their Indianapolis plants to Mexico, costing about 2,100 people their jobs
  • Not only does CCS pay poverty wages for workers providing essential services they have also racked up thousands of dollars in fines for endangering janitors on the job, exposing them to seriously dangerous chemicals with no protections.2

1  (The Status of Working Families in Indiana: 2015 Report:

2  (Citations: OSHA Inspection #:312892227 – 04/16/2010- 04/16/2010 – Issuance Date: 05/13/2010) 

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Indianapolis Security Officers Make History!

Newly ratified contract recognizes Indy’s first ever union of Security Officers.

CONTACT: Izabela Miltko – – 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.


Officer Robert Smith (Center) and Local 1’s Amy Teitelman (right).

“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:

  • Respect on the job. Under the new contract, harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated
  • Grievance and arbitration process. If an officer is unjustly disciplined, or the contract is violated, the employee or union can file a grievance and involve third-party arbitration if necessary.
  • Annual wage increases. Substantial raises each year allowing officers to build a better future for their families over the course of their contract. 
  • Access to quality healthcare. The new contract provides access to healthcare packages with the lowest deductible and most affordable premiums in Indy security history.
  • Vacation and paid time off for full-time officers. Officers now have seven paid holidays and are eligible for vacation pay and personal days.

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.”

# # #

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.

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SEIU Local 1 Member Newsletter – Summer 2015

Newsletter2Stay informed on what is happening across your local.

“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:

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SEIU Local 1 Awards 16 College Scholarships

2015 Scholarship Winners and their Parents, all SEIU Local 1 Members

2015 SEIU Local 1 Scholarship Winners and their Parents

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.

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Hundreds of Members Gather for Our 2015 Leadership Convention

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.

L1-facebook-sherri-3-2-15-3Chicago’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.

L1-facebook-luisa-3-2-15-2CEOs 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.

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Janitors are Raising Indy with 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.


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