Progressive labor union will work with Mayor-Elect Lucas to ensure no working family is left behind by Kansas City’s resurgence
KANSAS CITY – The following is a statement from Kansas City janitor Richard Franklin regarding Quinton Lucas’ victory in the Kansas City mayoral election. More than 900 janitors like Franklin kick off their fight for higher wages and a new contract in early 2020:
“The janitors, healthcare workers, stadium workers, KCPS custodians and more of SEIU congratulate Mayor-Elect Lucas on his victory in the race to be Kansas City’s next mayor.
“There’s no doubt Kansas City is coming back. But while the cost of living keeps rising, too many working people are struggling to make ends meet on low pay.
“We look forward to working with Mayor-Elect Lucas to raise wages for Kansas City working families, expand affordable housing options and make sure no one is left behind by our city’s resurgence.”
A coalition of labor unions representing Missouri state workers filed a lawsuit today challenging the recently passed Senate Bill 1007, which sought, among other things, to strip public service workers of collectively bargained protections on the job. The lawsuit was filed with the Cole County Circuit Court by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 61, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, and Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 6355.
“Former Governor Greitens may have thought he could throw away the hard-won rights of dedicated public service workers on his way out the door,” said AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan. “But the Missouri constitution says otherwise. We are fighting this unjust and illegal attack on the rights of our members every step of the way, and we are confident that justice will prevail.”
SB 1007 infringes upon Missouri state workers’ collective bargaining rights, which Missourians have enshrined in their constitution’s Bill of Rights. The right to bargain over protections from arbitrary and discriminatory termination and discipline, and to commit to agreements containing these protections, is central to these protected collective bargaining rights, as is the right to file grievances and be heard when these rights are violated. The legislature can no more eliminate these rights as it can other rights enshrined in our constitution, like the freedom of speech.
“SB 1007 hurts thousands of Missouri working families as well as all those who rely on state services,” said SEIU Local 1 Vice President Nancy Cross. “SEIU Local 1 members are coming together to reverse this unconstitutional attack by wealthy special interests on the rights of the working people of our state.”
“SB 1007 is an attack on our fundamental rights as workers to organize and our ability to collectively bargain. Unions of public workers have the infrastructure to protect workers from unjust actions in the workplace and fight for the crucial services that members of our communities need to survive,” said CWA Local 6355 President Natashia Pickens. “We fight for the workers and the state is trying to alienate workers and crush the very organizations with the ability to help workers have a voice on the job. CWA 6355 members are not just going to stand by and let them diminish the rights of workers and the families we serve.”
Local 1 janitors are victorious in their fight to keep their union strong at St. Louis Lambert International Airport! By coming together, janitors ensured standards will remain high for the working people and passengers of our airport.
Earlier this year, the St. Louis Lambert International Airport Authority voted to award a $13.5 million contract to an irresponsible contractor Centaur Building Services. Centaur faced serious scrutiny from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for racial discrimination. In 2015, the EEOC found “reasonable cause to believe” Centaur discriminated against an employee after discharging her, an African-American woman, due to her race. The contractor also lowers standards for working people across the St. Louis region by paying janitors low wages and offering bare-bones health benefits.
Local 1 Lambert janitors stood together and showed St. Louis elected leaders that discrimination has no place at a world-class airport, packing Board of Estimate and Apportionment meetings, telling their stories in the press and getting the word out on social media. On August 22, the Board listened to Local 1 janitors, keeping Centaur out of our airport!
Their victory shows that working people coming together is the strongest force for change in our communities. Local 1 janitors will continue to fight to ensure Lambert remains an economic engine for all of St. Louis, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
On August 7, the working families of SEIU Local 1 in Missouri came together and won a major victory for their communities by defeating Proposition A. Laws like Prop A, pushed by wealthy special interests, lower wages and hurting working people. But Local 1 members came together to show that wealthy special interests cannot divide us – white, Black or brown – against each other.
By joining with community allies and other labor organizations, Local 1 members showed Jefferson City politicians that working people will fight back against their anti-worker, low-wage agenda and win! Together, we rise for the higher wages, strong healthcare and financial security we need to make the Midwest better for all working families.
Local 1 Missouri members will take this energy into the November midterm elections to raise the minimum wage, reform our broken campaign finance system and elect leaders who will fight for working families. Anti-worker politicians and the wealthy special interests who back them are on watch!
Anderson will be a strong voice for Jackson County working families
KANSAS CITY – The following is a statement from SEIU janitor Katherine Grayes regarding Jalen Anderson’s victory in the 1st District At-Large Democratic Primary:
“The janitors, healthcare workers, state employees and more of SEIU congratulate Jalen Anderson on his victory in tonight’s primary.
“Anderson will be a fresh voice in the County Legislature. We can rely on him to fight for our rights and work to protect working people from Jefferson City’s attacks.
“SEIU members look forward to working with Anderson to raise wages for our region’s working families when he joins the Jackson County Legislature.”
The following is a statement from SEIU janitor Eugene Hubbard regarding Wesley Bell’s upset primary victory over longtime incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch:
“St. Louis County residents voted to move our region in a bold new direction. In voting for Bell, our county’s working families are demanding true accountability in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
“We cannot win economic justice without racial justice. And for too long, communities like mine haven’t felt heard.
“SEIU members look forward to working with Bell to return trust and transparency to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.”
Victory shows Missouri working families reject GOP’s anti-worker agenda
KANSAS CITY – The following is a statement from SEIU Missouri State Council Treasurer Lenny Jones regarding Rep. Lauren Arthur’s decisive victory in today’s special election for Missouri Senate District 17:
“After a hard-fought campaign, the SEIU Missouri State Council congratulates Senator-elect Lauren Arthur on her special election victory today. The janitors, school custodians, higher education faculty, state workers, patient care professionals and more of SEIU look forward to working with Senator-elect Arthur to make Missouri a better state for all working families.
“Senator-elect Arthur’s victory shows that the Missouri GOP’s electoral problems go far beyond disgraced ex-governor Eric Greitens. Our state’s working families reject the party’s radical anti-worker agenda.
“Working people are bringing their frustration to the ballot box and are ready to put Missouri back on track towards a brighter future. That starts with repealing the state’s harmful ‘right-to-work’ law on August 7.”
Alex Rosado has worked as an Agency for Community Transit (ACT) driver for more than 12 years. He’s currently a member of the bargaining team working to negotiate a new contract for more than 150 drivers.
Alex works hard and loves his job. One of his favorite parts is getting to know his riders. “I recognize our regulars,” he says. “We develop a rapport with riders.”
But right now, Alex says, morale among drivers is low and turnover is high. A major issue is that even if drivers get a doctor’s note and give proper four-days notice, they still may be forced to drive sick. The first sick day counts as an unexcused absence, meaning they lose a day’s pay, something very few can afford. They want to fix these issues in their new contract. “We just want a contract that helps us enhance the company and service,” says Alex.
Drivers are ready to do whatever it takes to win a strong new contract that helps make transit better for everyone. To support drivers and a better transit system, call Jerry Kane at 618-797-4600 and tell him you support the working families of ACT!
ST. LOUIS – The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 St. Louis Lambert Janitor Lasean Smith in response to the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment postponing a vote regarding a $13.5 million airport cleaning contract involving irresponsible contractor ATALIAN Global Services and its local affiliate, Centaur Building Services. The board reconvenes on June 20:
“An irresponsible contractor with a troubling record on racial discrimination has no place at a world-class airport like St. Louis Lambert International Airport. St. Louis Lambert janitors will continue to fight to ensure our airport is an economic engine for our entire city and a place where working people feel valued and respected.
“St. Louis Lambert janitors showed up to today’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment meeting, and we will continue to show up until the board makes the right decision for working families: rejecting this contract.”
BACKGROUND: Last month, the Riverfront Times outlined how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found “reasonable cause to believe” ATALIAN affiliate Centaur Building Services violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act after discharging an employee, an African-American woman, due to her race. Despite this, on May 2, the St. Louis Lambert Airport Commission voted to award the contract to the company.
ST. LOUIS – Ahead of the Express Scripts shareholders meeting, janitors who clean the company’s North St. Louis County facilities are set to win higher wages, quality health care and a brighter future by joining the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1. More than 50 contracted janitors who clean the company will become SEIU Local 1 members on June 1, raising standards and wages for working people across St. Louis County.
“We came together, spoke out, and won higher wages and a voice on the job,” said Vertiece Bryant, a janitor at Express Scripts. “This isn’t just a victory for janitors at Express Scripts. It’s a victory for all North St. Louis County working families.”
The current cleaning contractor at Express Scripts, irresponsible contractor ATALIAN Global Services and local affiliate Centaur Building Services, are set to lose the account, their largest in the St. Louis area. The company is the finalist to win a $13.5 million cleaning contract at St. Louis Lambert International Airport despite facing a serious Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finding for racial discrimination after Centaur discharged an employee, an African-American woman, due to her race. The loss of this major account calls into question the company’s fitness to clean a world-class airport like St. Louis Lambert International Airport.