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: The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 St. Louis Lambert Janitor Chloe Collins in response to the St. Louis Lambert International Airport Commission’s vote today to award a $13.5 million contract to irresponsible contractor ATALIAN Global Services and its local affiliate, Centaur Building Services:
“It’s disappointing the St. Louis Lambert Airport Commission refused to listen to our concerns about awarding a major cleaning contract to a contractor that faced a serious EEOC finding for racial discrimination.
“A large majority of janitors at St. Louis Lambert are workers of color. Awarding $13.5 million in taxpayer money to a company with a history of racial discrimination disrespects all of us who keep the airport running and is an insult to working families across St. Louis.
“The SEIU Local 1 janitors of St. Louis Lambert urge the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment to reject this contract. The board must send a message: There is no place for discrimination at our airport.”
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 serious issue, the St. Louis Airport Authority recommended awarding the contract to the company.
Living with uncertainty, graduate workers kick off series of actions
ST. LOUIS – With only 23 days until graduation, Washington University graduate workers, students, faculty and community allies rallied at the University’s 2018 Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner on Wednesday, April 25. The rally, which is part of a series of planned events leading up to graduation, raised awareness of issues facing the entire Washington University community — and specifically graduate workers, who are students at the University.
While the administration reached out to graduate workers just before the rally to announce guaranteed funding for summer work, nothing is guaranteed and graduate workers request to sit down with administration to discuss specific implementation.
“I am joining together with my colleagues to join in the fight for better funding because of the outsized impact that our inconsistent pay has on international graduate students like myself,” said Augusto Medeiros, PhD Candidate, Physics. “As international students, we are completely reliant on the university to support us because our F1 visas do not permit us to work outside the university. Because of this, international students face the possibility of being forced to return home, pause our research, and face undue hardship simply because our nationality.”
With summer looming, graduate workers are not yet guaranteed they will be paid for work done during those months. Graduate workers cannot afford to go another summer living without pay while still being expected to work and produce research for the university.
“WashU refuses to guarantee pay over the summer even though our research doesn’t stop in June and July; when they do come through with payment, it’s not enough to live on,” said JB Duck-Mayr, a graduate worker in the Political Science department. “That means throughout the year I have to work extra hourly gigs to make sure I can support my family, which takes away time from my research, my students, and my children. A university with $12 Billion in assets should be able to guarantee a living wage to its workers twelve months of the year. WashU administrators have refused to meet with us about these issues, so that’s why I’m protesting with WUGWU to make our voices heard by the university administration.”
This uncertain future is why graduate workers and their supporters are standing up to build power on campus and resistance through events over the next several weeks, including this rally.
“I am taking action to guarantee summer funding and dignified funding year round for grad workers because it is wrong that I make less than $900 a month and receive no pay during the summer at a $12 billion university,” said Sarah Crosley, a teaching assistant in Classics. “I have made more money working as a kindergarten teacher reading books to toddlers in the summer than I do teaching undergrads who pay $50,000 a year to attend WashU.”
Graduate workers, along with their supporters in SEIU Local 1 and the wider community, will continue to fight for power at work and on campus and look forward to making meaningful improvements at Washington University. SEIU Local 1 has been working with graduate workers, college and university professors throughout the Midwest to give them a voice on the job; address the low compensation for their work; and to ensure greater benefits and job security.
KANSAS CITY– Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 carpenters, painters, mechanics, plumbers, ride control technicians and electricians at Worlds of Fun overwhelmingly ratified a strong new contract that guarantees good annual raises, better benefits and more job security. The new agreement ensures that the people who work hard to keep Worlds of Fun running every day can support their families and build stronger communities.
“I’m really proud of the contract we were able to win through these negotiations,” said SEIU Local 1 Painter Martin Maudlin. “We all participated to bring this great agreement home. Together, we stood strong and won the better wages and job security we need to help support our families.”
More than 60 working people will be covered under this new contract. The three-year agreement will expire in 2021.
ST. LOUIS – The following is a statement from Dominique Curry, a Centaur Building Services janitor at Express Scripts, in response to the Fortune 500 company’s fourth quarter and full year results released today. While Express Scripts pulled in $4.5 billion in 2017, the contracted janitors who clean its facilities are struggling to make ends meet:
“Express Scripts is a Fortune 500 healthcare company, but the janitors like me who work hard to clean it every day are barely scraping by on low wages and bare-bones health coverage.
“Express Scripts has received millions of dollars in taxpayer incentives and raked in billions in 2017. Meanwhile, we’re struggling just to put food on the table for our kids and to pay the bills.
“It’s time Express Scripts follow through on its commitment to the working people of North St. Louis County by creating good jobs that give us the opportunity to support our families. Doing so will raise standards for all working people and make our region better for everyone.”
KANSAS CITY – The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 janitor Sandy Hinson in response to Governor Eric Greitens’ State of the State address. Hinson was a leader in the fight to raise Kansas City’s minimum wage for working families, which passed via petition initiative with 69 percent of the vote before being preempted by state law:
“Governor Greitens promised higher pay for Missouri’s working families. His administration has delivered the exact opposite.
“Governor Greitens has made it harder for working families to put food on the table. From lowering St. Louis’ minimum wage for 30,000 working people to taking away the right of Missouri voters to raise wages in cities across the state, he has shown nothing but contempt for those of us working hard to make ends meet.
“In 2018, the working people of Missouri will remind Governor Greitens who pays his salary by repealing Right to Work, raising Missouri’s minimum wage, and reforming our state’s broken campaign finance laws.”
After months of negotiations, Local 1 janitors at St. Louis Lambert International Airport ratified a strong new contract. The agreement guarantees annual wage increases, stronger health benefits, and a voice on the job that will help janitors working at Lambert provide for their families and strengthen their communities.
“By coming together on the job, Lambert janitors were able to win a brighter future,” said SEIU Local 1 Lambert Janitor Sherry Fabing. “This new contract will help me provide for my family and makes sure that working people have a voice in the future of our airport.”
Local 1 members ratified the contract amidst an ongoing discussion about the privatization of St. Louis Lambert. The agreement ensures the working people who keep Lambert running every day have a seat at the table regarding any future decision about governance of our city’s airport.