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.”