More 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.
View our annual report to see what Local 1 has accomplished in 2013:
Fast food workers began organizing a little under one year ago, kicking off a national movement with strikes in New York City and Chicago in April of 2013. Other cities quickly followed suit, with fast food and retail workers walking off the job in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Detroit, and more, demanding a higher minimum wage and the right to organize a union. Less than a year later, on December 5, 2013, the largest fast food strike in history occurred. Workers in over 100 cities walked off their jobs, picketed their employers, and called for a $15 minimum wage.
“It’s okay! We got your back!” Local 1 members from Chicago called out to workers at the McDonald’s at Chicago & Damen. The call has become a rallying cry for the movement, which seeks to empower long-ignored fast food workers. Local 1 Members stood side-by-side with the striking McDonald’s workers, many of who are paid just $8.25 after years of dedicated service.
“I am involved with the fast food campaign to better the economy for everyone,” says St. Louis member Wesley Reed. “[To fix the economy] we have to start from the bottom, not from the top.”
Members from Detroit, St. Louis, and Milwaukee all took part in the nationwide day of action, standing in solidarity with fast food workers across the nation. History was made last week, and it came less than a week after the massive Black Friday protests staged at Wal-Mart locations throughout the country. These monumental actions have brought income inequality to the forefront of the national conversation—an important step in repairing our damaged economy.
Stay informed on what is happening across your local.
“ABM is a national, multi-million dollar corporation. But SEIU is national too. Every SEIU city across the country is help to win this fight, not just for Columbus but for all hardworking people everywhere! “
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At the June 1st, 2013 membership meeting, Local 1 members from 11 cities and 6 states overwhelmingly approved constitutional and bylaw amendments by a 94% vote. The final vote tally was 366 in favor of the amendments and 22 against.
As an SEIU Local 1 member or retiree, you are entitled to member-only rates, discounts and special offers from Union Plus. The Union Plus program is brought to us by the AFL-CIO to provide consumer benefits to union members. To view a full list of programs and discounts, including mortgages, travel discounts, entertainment coupons, and prepaid debit cards, visit www.unionplus.org or call 1-800-452-9425.
Detroit — A day after a $6 million loan to the Education Achievement Authority from Detroit Public Schools was made public, two state lawmakers said they have concerns about student safety at EAA schools.
State Sen. Coleman Young III, D-Detroit, said Friday morning he will introduce a measure that would mandate a higher level of training for contracted security workers in EAA schools.
Young said officers have told him they lack basic training in CPR, experience high turnover among staff members and get little support from contractor Prudential Protective Service, the company hired by the EAA to provide security officers at all 15 schools.
“I’m not going to wait for a tragedy to happen. That’s why I’m introducing an amendment that will put our kids’ safety first. Companies that receive taxpayer dollars need to abide by the law and ensure the highest safety standards for our children,” Coleman said as he stood outside Cadillac Place, which houses offices for the state of Michigan, which operates the EAA.
Coleman said he would attach the amendment to current EAA bills moving through the Michigan Legislature. He wants action before the state moves to expand the EAA, the statewide system for failing schools.
State Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, also called for further scrutiny of EAA security officials, saying a lack of safety for students “is another indictment of this failed experiment.”
Robert Booker, an EAA security officer, said he was recently injured responding to a gang fight at Central High School
“We find knives, guns, drugs all the time,” Booker said. “Officers are doing the best they can, but Prudential isn’t helping us. Officers come and go all the time because we don’t have the training and support.”
EAA Chief of Staff Tyrone Winfrey said the district contracts with two agencies — the Detroit Public Schools Police Department and Prudential Security — to provide security services.
“We take any allegation of unsafe conditions seriously and are ready to thoroughly investigate each allegation if we are provided with the details so that we can follow up. At the same time, to the extent this is an attempt by the SEIU to organize Prudential employees, that is an issue between Prudential and the SEIU,” Winfrey said.
A Prudential official said the claims are inaccurate and unfair and are rooted in an attempt to unionize the security guards rather than a sincere concern for students and staff at the EAA schools. The guards make $9 an hour, the company said.
“This is politics at its worst. Rather than taking the proper steps to organize our employees, the union is exploiting children in an attempt to discredit Prudential and its employees,” Gerald Collins, company executive vice president, said.
An official with Service Employees International Union Local 1 in Detroit confirmed that SEIU is trying to organize Prudential Security guards, including those at EAA schools.
Chris Siller, Michigan coordinator for the union, said the guards aren’t being paid overtime and none are trained for CPR. Earlier this month, The News reported that in the first five months of the EAA school year, school authorities documented more than 5,000 discipline-related infractions across 15 school buildings in Detroit, ranging from fights to truancy to gambling and disorderly conduct.
The number of reported incidents skyrocketed in the second quarter, from mid-November through the end of January, when 4,000 infractions piled up, including 1,000 truancy cases, 986 disorderly conduct incidents, 63 drug possessions, 33 firearm possessions and 22 physical assaults against staff.
Also reported were 876 cases of insubordination and 52 cases of threats of violence or coercion.
The data represent the first assessment of behavioral problems among the 10,000 students at the EAA schools, which were under Detroit Public Schools management until last fall.
The report’s release comes after the Detroit Police Department disbanded its Gang Squad and sent officers into jobs outside schools and neighborhoods. At the same time, Michigan lawmakers are debating bills to expand the reach of the EAA and codify it into state law.
The News reported Friday that administrators at the EAA took $6 million in loans from the cash-strapped Detroit school district without approval from EAA board members.
EAA board secretary Mike Duggan told The News on Thursday he learned of the secret loans from a constituent Wednesday night, but he never heard of the loans at monthly EAA board meetings, which he says he regularly attended.
“The board has never approved a loan from DPS. I’m pretty confident the board was never advised of it, either,” Duggan told The News.
The loans came to light this week in documents obtained by state Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, D-Huntington Woods, through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The EAA is a newly formed statewide school district created by Gov. Rick Snyder to take over the state’s lowest performing schools. DPS loaned the EAA the $6 million by borrowing the money through the Michigan Finance Authority, with repayments guaranteed based on the EAA’s future state funding payments, said Caleb Buhs, spokesman for the state Treasury Department, which approved the loans.
“This was a good arrangement for both as DPS has a vested interest in the success of the EAA and DPS’ payments are protected by state aid from EAA,” Buhs said late Thursday.
DPS spokesman Steve Wasko could not be reached for comment.
The EAA opened its doors in September. It raised $15 million in private donations, money intended to finance start-up costs while the district waited to collect state aid for each student it educates.
“The EAA was simply faced with cash-flow timing challenges, and to cover the difference when donation commitment and pledges were made versus came in, as well as when their state aid payment would come in,” Snyder spokesman Sara Wurfel said late Thursday.
Snyder-backed legislation seeking to expand the reform district’s reach to 50 schools failing statewide is pending in the state Senate.
The EAA asked for and received a $2 million loan from the state in January to fund operations and technology improvements after philanthropic funds fell short.
“I’ve asked about the cash flow issues at every board meeting,” Duggan said.
One email Lipton obtained shows Snyder’s transformation manager, Richard Baird, was sent a copy of a Sept. 7 message about the EAA needing $3 million for payroll from DPS. Baird was involved in the transaction because he is secretary/treasurer of the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation, a group that helped finance the EAA’s start-up costs, Wurfel said.
The documents also show a $2 million loan by DPS to EAA to pay vendors and another $1.8 million for various payments. DPS chief financial officer Bill Aldridge signed off on all the requests.
Senator Coleman Young II, Senator Bert Johnson, security officers, and concerned members of the community gathered outside of Cadillac Place on Grand Boulevard to expose serious safety concerns at EAA schools. Officers are reporting a lack of adequate training, high turnover and little support from Prudential—the company hired by taxpayers and entrusted with the safety of the children at EAA schools. These reports, along with Prudential’s legal history, have prompted Senator Coleman Young II to introduce an amendment that raises safety standards at EAA schools.
“I’m not going to wait for a tragedy to happen,” says Senator Coleman Young II. “That’s why I’m introducing an amendment that will put our kids’ safety first. Companies that receive taxpayer dollars need to abide by the law and ensure the highest safety standards for our children.”
Security officers are blowing the whistle on safety issues. Officer Robert Booker from Central High School states, “We’re not getting the training we need. Officers are doing the best they can, but Prudential isn’t helping us. The lack of training, high turnover and lack of support from the company is putting kids and staff at risk.”
Prudential’s questionable legal history is also coming under scrutiny. They have been sued twice by the EEOC, and they hired an alleged criminal as a director of operations—a man who allegedly assaulted someone with a dangerous weapon and threated to have someone shot. Legislators and members of the community are asking whether a company like Prudential can be trusted with the security of our schools.
Senator Bert Johnson adds, “The lack of safety in EAA schools is yet another indictment of this failed experiment. We already knew the EAA was unable to deliver a proper education to its students and now we know it can’t even protect the children it is entrusted with.”
In support of school safety, Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood released a statement saying, “The first and foremost concern when it comes to our youth is their safety. The EAA has demonstrated an inability to protect the children in its schools by hiring a private security contractor with a questionable legal history, reports of inadequate training for its staff, irresponsible behavior, and widespread claims of wage theft. None of these allegations are acceptable in any professional setting, let alone one responsible for the daily care of our children.”
Prudential is hired by taxpayers to provide security to 15 EAA schools. In light of a potential expansion of schools under the EAA’s administration, legislators are examining the safety standards of the security contractor operating in their existing schools. They are proposing a common sense amendment that would require that security companies have a clean legal history and adhere to higher safety and training standards.
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When I was in college, I suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Fortunately, I had health insurance through school and got the care I needed. After I graduated, I was denied insurance by every major carrier because of my preexisting condition. Even the state program was too expensive for me to afford.
But when Obama helped pass the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. Now I have good health insurance with affordable premiums. I’m able to go see my doctor without worrying if I can afford it.
I want to thank President Obama for standing up for people like me, so I am volunteering with SEIU Local 1 to help re-elect President Barack Obama.
You can help too! Volunteer with SEIU Local 1 to make sure OUR voices are heard this election. Call the Member Resource Center: 877-233-8880.