CLEVELAND – By an overwhelming margin, 50 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 janitors at the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill ratified a strong new union contract this afternoon. Under the agreement, janitors will see a 60% wage increase over the five-year contract, with every worker on a path to $15 by 2023.
The agreement comes on the heels of similar contracts won in recent weeks by janitors at the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) and the Cleveland Orchestra.
“This contract showed us how much we can accomplish when we stand together for better wages and benefits,” said Rodney Shelton, a Local 1 janitor at the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill who negotiated the contract with his co-workers. “While we won our path to $15, the fight for One Cleveland continues with hundreds of our brothers and sisters who are fighting for their contract downtown.”
“We want to congratulate the Steel Mill janitors on their huge victory because their fight is our fight, and when working families do better, we all do better and win,” said Geraldine Brown, who works at the 55 Public Square building and is covered under the next janitorial union contract up for negotiations in Cleveland. “It is time for One Cleveland where everyone can benefit from good union jobs with at least a $15 wage, and we look forward to seeing that in our contract.”
Local 1 janitors at the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill, Tri-C and the Cleveland Orchestra are among 1,650 Local 1 janitors throughout Cleveland and the surrounding area who are coming together across different backgrounds this year to win new contracts and good jobs that will benefit their communities. Janitors hope the steel mill, Tri-C and orchestra wins will set the tone for upcoming union negotiations.
With three major contract victories under their belts, Local 1 Cleveland janitors now embark on their next fight: winning a strong contract with a path to $15 for 500 additional janitors who clean Cleveland’s downtown buildings .
Through their “One Cleveland” campaign, janitors are fighting for a $15 wage along with raising standards in the janitorial industry as a way to ensure all Clevelanders—whether white, Black, or brown—benefit from the city’s booming redevelopment. The city’s comeback is made possible with millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and all Clevelanders should benefit from the renaissance.
The ArcelorMittal Steel Mill agreement will pump $1.5 million into Cleveland’s most neglected neighborhoods. In addition, the janitors’ five-year union contract improves benefits such as holidays and strengthens their pension and healthcare funds.
CLEVELAND – SEIU Local 1 janitors, who keep Cleveland’s most prominent buildings clean and are amid contract bargaining, rallied for $15 this afternoon under the iconic Playhouse Square chandelier to highlight how downtown’s boom has left too many neighborhoods behind. Union janitors, security officers and other supporters from Cincinnati, Columbus, Chicago, Detroit, Huston, New York and Portland rallied with Cleveland janitors in solidarity.
“In Cuyahoga County, the poverty rate for a family of four is about $25,000 a year. That’s more than what most janitors currently make,” said Local 1 janitor Craig Watson, who works at the Key Tower skyscraper. “We’re working to put food on the table and provide for our children. We need at least $15 an hour to better support our families.”
Today’s rally came on the heels of the janitor-led “Tale of Two Clevelands” trolley tour, during which Cleveland janitors drew attention to the neglect their neighborhoods have faced during downtown’s redevelopment. Today, janitors brought their fight for $15 directly to the epicenter of Cleveland’s booming resurgence.
Janitors play an essential role in keeping Cleveland clean and safe. Their contribution to our city’s renaissance is clear to anyone walking through downtown—Geis Companies, The K&D Group, Bedrock or AmTrust Financial. Our city’s janitors, however, experience another side of Cleveland. In the shadow of our city’s revival, there is another story where the mostly minority working poor, their families and their communities are struggling to get by.
Local 1 Cleveland janitors are in the process of negotiating their next union contract, which covers much of downtown’s commercial real estate community. Contract negotiations will resume next week, during which janitors will continue to press for a clear path to $15 an hour.
In addition to fighting for fair pay, Cleveland janitors hope to pave the foundation for One Cleveland—a truly prosperous city where everybody thrives.
On August 4, Local 1 Milwaukee janitors unanimously ratified a new contract that secures good wage increases and strengthens our union. The contract is the strongest agreement to date won by Local 1 Milwaukee janitors!
When we rise, we win good union jobs! Check out photos from the ratification:
TOLEDO – Dozens of SEIU Local 1 janitors and their community allies, including Ohio State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Democratic Toledo City Councilman Nick Komives, rallied Thursday afternoon to mark the 28th anniversary of the Justice for Janitors movement and demand good jobs at the PNC Bank Building.
Janitors and their allies, including building tenants, rallied outside the PNC Bank Building, 405 Madison Ave., to urge property management company ZAK Properties, an affiliate of Five Lakes Global Group,to support good jobs in Toledo by using a janitorial contractor that provides decent wages, quality benefits and union rights.
Good jobs at the PNC Bank Building will improve the lives of workers, contribute to the prosperity of Toledo’s neediest communities and bring clear benefits to the building owner and manager, including high-quality service and low turnover. ZAK Properties can support our communities by simply using a janitorial contractor that allows better job security, affordable benefits and gives the janitors a voice on the job.
“We won’t stand down until ZAK Properties honors good jobs,” said George White, SEIU Local 1 executive board member and janitor at Seaway Building Services in Toledo. “Low-wage jobs do not allow hardworking families to afford basic life necessities like groceries, rent and keeping the lights and heat on. Paying workers decent wages would allow them to support their local economies and, in turn, revitalize communities and neighborhoods.”
Janitors from across Ohio, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Akron, joined the Toledo action, which was one of many similar Justice for Janitors events happening across the country. In remembrance of the original campaign, SEIU janitors take action in events nationwide each week of June 15.
CHICAGO — On Wednesday, March 21, Chicago Public School (CPS) custodians, holding mops and bottles of iconic cleaning product Fabuloso, rallied for fabulous and clean schools outside Wednesday’s CPS Board meeting. Custodians both inside and outside the board meeting urged CPS to support the 2,000 hardworking custodians who are currently in contract negotiations with contractors Aramark, RJB, Gerelex and more.
“Too many CPS custodians do not receive the proper staffing or supplies we need to keep schools healthy and clean for students and teachers,” said SEIU Local 1 Custodian Maxine Gladney. “It’s time contractors start valuing our work and offering us the resources we need to do our jobs.”
Without guarantees of proper staffing levels or supplies, many CPS custodians struggle to keep schools as clean and healthy as possible. Many custodians buy supplies like Fabuloso with money out of their own pockets because they are deeply dedicated to their schools and students. Custodians are also fighting for a dignified wage that reflects the valuable work they do as well as more sick days to prevent illness from spreading in schools.
These issues can be addressed with a strong new contract that guarantees proper staffing, supplies, sick days and a dignified wage for CPS custodians. The current contract for custodians expires on April 8. Custodians urged the CPS Board to stand with them as they bargain with contractors for cleaner schools and a better future for their communities.
On International Women’s Day, hundreds of Local 1 women janitors and custodians who clean our Chicagoland offices, schools and public buildings rallied with their allies as #WomenRise for good jobs and a strong new contract!
Local 1’s women members kicked off their contract campaign on behalf of 12,000 Chicago-area janitors, 70 percent of whom are women.
It was a great event and an empowering day! Women rise! ¡Mujeres guerreras! Silne kobiety!
Check out some of the fantastic media coverage from the event:
In addition to Chicago, Local 1 members from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Milwaukee, Toledo and St. Louis were in the house!
Contracts expire this year for more than 14,500 Local 1 janitors. At the convention hall, the energy was high as the member leaders geared up to fight for strong new contracts that include good raises and better benefits, while also protecting our progress.
We agreed that, this year, we have our best opportunity yet to win better wages and benefits. Because that’s what unites us: hope in a better future for working people and our families.
When one city wins, we ALL win! Together, #WeRise for the good union jobs our communities need to thrive!
Nearly 200 janitors, many of whom spent several months fighting Right to Work in Missouri, took part in the meeting to kick off SEIU Local 1’s contract negotiations with St. Louis contractors. The contract for 2,100 janitors in the St. Louis area expires December 31. Negotiations begin in late October.
St. Louis janitors are considered “extremely low income” according to Federal HUD income limits. Despite cleaning the offices of some of the country’s most profitable companies, the average downtown janitor is paid a little over $11,232 annually, likely qualifying them for various public assistance programs, such as food stamps (SNAP) and the school lunch program.
“One in four children in St. Louis live below the poverty line,” St. Louis janitor Tommy Lynch said. “On average, we make so little that we cannot sustain our families. Our campaign is not only about St. Louis’ janitors though; it is about our entire community. We are working to Raise St. Louis with good jobs and higher wages. It is only by increasing wages that we can all benefit.”