Missouri

SLU adjuncts finalize their first union contract

5743704552ae5.image ST. LOUIS • St. Louis University leaders and members of the Service Employees International Union have tentatively agreed on the first contract for adjunct faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education.

The contract is still pending approval from union members within the next week.

The five-year contract comes more than a year after the SLU adjunct professors voted to unionize. Out of 156 eligible voters, 89 voted in favor back in March of 2016, and 28 voted against it.

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Mayor Slay, advocates gear up for minimum wage fight

589b69c474dff.imageJEFFERSON CITY •St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay made his way to the state Capitol on Monday to speak out against legislation that would block the city’s minimum wage increase, which the Missouri Supreme Court upheld last week.

His fourth and final term as the city’s chief executive may be quickly coming to a close – the primary election for his job is on Tuesday – but raising the St. Louis minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018 remains a potentially elusive goal.

“We’re going to stand firm,” Slay said Monday. “We’re going to fight this thing all the way through.”

The city raised its minimum wage in 2015, but was quickly sued by business groups who said the ordinance conflicted with state law.

The state’s high court may have sided with the city, but celebrations proved to be short-lived. Less than a week later, advocates and city lawmakers are testifying against proposals from state lawmakers that would nullify St. Louis’ increase and ban other cities from doing the same.

Slay joins other advocates, including some of the state’s labor unions, to denounce the Legislature’s involvement in city politics.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655 and Service Employees International Union Local 1 are partnering to campaign against proposals banning cities from raising the minimum wage beyond state levels.

Read the full story over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch!

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Missouri Gov. Greitens signs right-to-work legislation

greitens_rtw_signing_3Gov. Eric Greitens took a road trip Monday in celebration of making Missouri the nation’s 28th right-to-work state.

The Republican signed Senate Bill 19, which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues, at three ceremonies. The first one was in Springfield at an abandoned warehouse before a small crowd of supporters.

“For too long in the state of Missouri, for too long people bowed down to intimidation, they bowed down to powerful union bosses who acted to protect their own interests instead of protecting the interest of Missouri workers,” Greitens said.

The ceremony was disrupted briefly by about 10 pro-union demonstrators who shouted “right to work, wrong for us!” They were escorted out a minute later.

Greitens said the new law won’t eliminate unions but instead will make them more responsive and accountable to their members.

Organized labor says the legislation will lead to lower wages and have an uncertain impact on economic growth.

“It’s sad to see Gov. Greitens and the Republican legislature cave to big donors, corporations and special interests at the expense of Missouri’s working families,” said Vanessa Coleman with the Service Employees International Union. “The janitors, higher education faculty, school cafeteria workers, and sports facility workers of SEIU Local 1 will continue to fight for an economy that works for all of us, not just well-connected and out-of-touch billionaires.”

Read the full story over at St. Louis Public Radio!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEIU Local 1 Member and Kauffman Stadium Concessions Worker Vanessa Coleman Responds to Governor Greitens’ Signing of “Right to Work” Law

IMG_1013SEIU Local 1 Member and Kauffman Stadium Concessions Worker Vanessa Coleman Responds to Governor Greitens’ Signing of “Right to Work” Law

KANSAS CITY – The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 member and Kauffman Stadium Concessions Worker Vanessa Coleman:

“It’s sad to see Governor Greitens and the Republican legislature cave to big donors, corporations and special interests at the expense of Missouri’s working families.

“But our movement for a fair economy is growing – just last year, Kansas City Public School custodians, janitors at Lambert St. Louis International Airport, and St. Louis higher education faculty joined the fight for a voice on the job, higher wages, and a brighter future.

“The janitors, higher education faculty, school cafeteria workers, and sports facility workers of SEIU Local 1 will continue to fight for an economy that works for all of us, not just well-connected and out-of-touch billionaires.”

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SEIU Local 1 represents over 8,000 janitors, higher education faculty, public sector workers, school custodians and industrial workers across Missouri. Together, SEIU Local 1 members fight an economy that works for all working families, not just the wealthy and well-connected. 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEIU Local 1 Member and SLU professor Jameson Ramirez on the Passage of SB19

SEIU Local 1 Member and SLU professor Jameson Ramirez on the Passage of SB19

ST. LOUIS– The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 member and Saint Louis University higher education faculty member Jameson Ramirez: 

“Last year, higher education faculty at Saint Louis University joined together to fight for a voice on the job and a seat at the table. Higher education faculty in St. Louis show that when we are united under a common cause and organize for a better future, we win.

“But so-called Right to Work makes it more difficult for working people to make themselves heard.  This proposed legislation essentially extends a false hand of opportunity to workers while strangling their real opportunities with the other hand. It will lower wages, slash benefits, and put a secure retirement out of reach for thousands of hardworking Missouri families. The simple fact is Right to Work means less money in my pocket every month – median incomes in Right to Work states are thousands less than in those without it.

“We hope Governor Greitens shows that he is truly fighting for the working people of Missouri and vetoes this harmful bill. If not, we’ll know he caved to the special interests, billionaire donors and big corporations that bankrolled his campaign.”

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SEIU Local 1 represents over 8,000 janitors, higher education faculty, public sector workers, school custodians and industrial workers across Missouri. Together, SEIU Local 1 members fight an economy that works for all working families, not just the wealthy and well-connected. 

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Right to Work bill heads to governor’s desk

635586855870111919-missouri-capitol-by-rick-meyer_174730_ver1.0JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri lawmakers have sent the state’s new Republican governor a bill that would ban mandatory union fees.

House members on Thursday took a final vote on the so-called right-to-work bill.

Gov. Eric Greitens has promised to sign the bill. His Democratic predecessor, Gov. Jay Nixon, vetoed right to work in 2015.

If Greitens signs the bill, Missouri will become the 28th right-to-work state.

Seven of the eight states that surround Missouri already have right-to-work laws, including Kentucky where it passed last month. New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a similar proposal.

Reactions from politicians and organizations across the state has been mixed.

“Missouri has lagged in job creation and economic growth. Today we took a big step toward turning that around,” said State Senator Bob Onder (R-St. Charles County).

He added, “Right to Work will really send a signal to all of our country that Missouri is open for business, That we’re open to opportunity, economic development, and economic freedom.”

“We believe this is an overreach by government, to go after working people,” said Jeff Aboussie, a labor lobbyist for the Operating Engineers Union for the state of Missouri.

“The uncertainty is there and [the union members] have no idea what’s coming or what to expect or how its going to change their lives and their families lives.”

Statement from SEIU Local 1 member and SLU professor Jameson Ramirez:

“We hope Governor Greitens shows that he is truly fighting for the working people of Missouri and vetoes this harmful bill. If not, we’ll know he caved to the special interests, billionaire donors and big corporations that bankrolled his campaign.”

Read the full story over at KSDK.

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Kansas City Public Schools janitors vote to join union

KCPS janitorJanitors who work in Kansas City Public Schools have voted to join a union.

The union vote came earlier this month, when 90 custodians elected to join the Service Employees International Union Local 1, which represents more than 300 workers in the district.

The custodians work for the Marcis & Associates janitorial services firm, which earlier this year won a $10 million, three-year contract with the school district.

Union members had supported the district’s decision to give the contract to a new company, saying the previous firm did not recognize union workers and that schools had seen a decline in cleanliness amid understaffing.

Velma Chapman, a custodian at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, said in a statement from the union that the custodians will be better able to care for the schools as members of SEIU Local 1.

“My coworkers and I came together on the job so we could have a voice in keeping KCPS as clean and healthy as possible,” Chapman said.

Read the full story over at the Kansas City Star!

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SEIU activists work with students to GOTV

57e2de62ce806.imageUnion activists are working with college students, faculty and staff – including at Washington University and Saint Louis University – to educate and energize voters for the November 8 general election.

“Candidates on all levels – federal, state or local – need to address the high cost of tuition so students are debt free and able to pursue their dreams,” said Cody Burleson, a graduate worker at Washington University in St. Louis. “Candidates can lock in the college vote by standing with us to restore the promise of higher education.”

Events were held on both Washington University and Saint Louis University’s campuses last week to highlight these issues with the goal of reaching more than one million voters in 16 states. At 50 campuses this fall, organizers said, thousands of professors and graduate assistants will be knocking on doors, phone banking and convening voter information sessions to educate campus goers on key issues like debt-free college and better pay for students and faculty.

Activists from Service Employees International Union Local 1 – which represents nearly 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest – are coordinating with student assistants, faculty, alumni and community allies at 50 campuses across the country on what the call “GOTV U Pledge Week.”

Read the full story over at The St. Louis American.

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Editorial: Excellence in higher education starts with better pay for instructors

57472b982ebd2.imageThere’s something terribly wrong with the picture on America’s college campuses today. Higher education institutions are charging top-dollar rates for that all-important degree, while students and parents receive skyrocketing tuition bills because state governments are cutting back on college funding.

Yet more than half the faculty in higher education today is made up of part-time teachers, also known as adjuncts, according to the American Association of University Professors. Their numbers jumped over the past decade as college and university administrators struggled to bulk up teaching staffs while keeping budgets low. The AAUP says the share of money spent on instruction has declined in every sector of higher education.

The demands placed on adjuncts are enormous, and they have well-founded reasons for asserting that their employment rights are being abused in the name of cost-cutting. Increasingly, part-time faculty members at American colleges are voting to form unions, in part to ensure that universities don’t continue shaving expenses at instructors’ expense.

Adjuncts at St. Louis University’s College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences voted overwhelmingly last week to unionize, following similar moves at Washington University and at St. Charles and St. Louis’ community colleges.

Read the full story over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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KC school janitors rally for cleanliness and good pay at board meeting

Janitors who work in Kansas City Public Schools rallied membership to attend the district’s board meeting Wednesday to persuade school leaders to opt for unionized custodians to clean their middle and high school buildings.

About 20 members of Service Employees International Union Local 1 attended the meeting, having called on the board to “select a contractor that offers janitors a voice on the job,” said Nick Desideri, a union spokesman. “The board’s final decision will have a massive impact on cleanliness standards at all schools across the district.”

The board took no action Wednesday.

School district administrators have recommended that the board approve a new and more than $10 million three-year contract with Marcis & Associates beginning July 1.

If approved by the board of education, Marcis would serve the district’s middle and high schools.

“We are going with what we believe to be the lowest and best,” said Al Tunis, interim superintendent.

Tunis said going with an outside company rather than an in-district custodial service saves the district “a little more than $1 million a year, mostly in salaries and benefits.”

While the district has outsourced janitorial work for its middle and high schools, its elementary schools are cleaned by a district-employed custodial staff.

The district recently reached a contract agreement with those employees that goes through June 2017. Some of the district-employed janitors are union members.

Union officials argued that the company now cleaning the middle and high schools does not recognize union workers and has “cut corners” in pay and staffing that have left the schools less clean.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article74190652.html#storylink=cpy

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