Missouri

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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Washington University Adjuncts Ratify Historic First Contract

IMG_1200Adjunct faculty at Washington University ratified a four year agreement on April 28 by an overwhelming margin. The contract contains wage increases, scheduling changes and greater stability for the adjunct faculty at the university. It guarantees the same level of academic freedom enjoyed by other Washington University faculty.

The agreement was reached after months of pressure on the university, including media attention, petitions, hundreds of calls to the university along with support from political leaders, other unions and students, faculty and staff. On April 14, the adjuncts planned a walk out which received widespread attention both in the media and among the Washington University community, and resulted in redoubling the pressure on the university to successfully settle the contract.

“This agreement is a step forward for educators at Washington University in St. Louis, and it sets the bar for the region,” said Michael O’Bryan, English Instructor. “The St. Louis community now has awareness of the plight of adjunct faculty and knows that universities need to do better. Adjuncts at Wash U have achieved substantial wage increases, access to professional development funds, and increased job security. We look forward to continuing this momentum into higher education at neighboring institutions.”

The more than 300 Washington University adjunct professors voted to join Service Employees International Union Local 1 on January 5, 2015, and were joined in October 2015 by more than 500 adjunct professors at St. Louis Community College, and in March 2016 by more than 300 adjunct professors at St. Charles Community College, who voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Local 1. On April 14, non-tenured faculty at Saint Louis University filed petitions to join Local 1.

 

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Missouri Secretary Of State Jason Kander Joins Local Janitors In Their Fight For Higher Wages

KanderJanitorsMissouri Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander joined area janitors Saturday to help kick off their campaign for higher wages.

Members of SEIU Local 1, a union that represents 50,000 working people across the Midwest and nearly 4,000 in Kansas City, say that while downtown Kansas City is experiencing growth, the working people who clean it are struggling to get by.

Kander told media and local union members that the average janitor in the metro makes $1295 a month, which is well below the poverty line in Kansas City.

For Richard Franklin, who works as a janitor, making a livable wage is about keeping his 10-year-old son safe.

“We want to level the playing field,” Franklin said. “That way our youth wouldn’t have to be living in dangerous neighborhoods, have to face violence and drugs and all these bad things that are going on the neighborhoods, and most parents are too distracted with trying to work, and pay bills and put food on the table, they can’t keep their kids safe from the influence.”

Kander said that anyone working full-time in America should be able to provide for their families.

Read the full story over at KCUR.

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St. Charles Community College Adjunct Professors Vote For Better Future With SEIU Local 1

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CONTACT: Izabela Miltko 708-655-9681, miltkoi@seiu1.org

Kathleen Policy 440-724-9730policyk@seiu1.org

 CHARLES COMMUNITY COLLEGE ADJUNCT PROFESSORS VOTE FOR BETTER FUTURE WITH SEIU LOCAL 1

Adjuncts vote to join together for higher wages, benefits

LOUIS, Mo. – St. Charles Community College adjunct faculty voted on Thursday, March 3, to have a voice on the job by joining Service Employees International Union Local 1. The 332 eligible faculty members will join with thousands of other part-time, non-tenure track instructors and faculty members around the country who have voted to organize for a voice on the job.

“Tonight the faculty majority at St. Charles Community College have changed from itinerate workers to empowered professionals,” said Diana Nash, English professor. “We are joining SEIU Local 1 and the adjunct faculties at St. Louis Community College and Washington University to win the respect that all educators deserve. We look forward to negotiating for job security, higher pay, and benefits.”

Among the issues raised by these faculty members are the low wages, lack of benefits and unpredictable scheduling. 

“I know that my fellow colleagues want to help create a stronger community and make sure adjuncts get the recognition we deserve for the work we do,” said Lisa Butler, Sociology professor. “If a college wants to keep their best educators and add the highest quality new hires, we have to have competitive wages that reflect the quality of an instructors work and contribution to a college.”

SEIU Local 1 has been working with 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. Over the past year, adjunct professors at Washington University and St. Louis Community College voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Local 1 and are currently bargaining their first contract, and others around the Midwest are also working to organize. 

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Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites nearly 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest. SEIU janitors, security officers, food service workers, and others are working with community leaders to advocate for the quality services the public deserves and the good jobs our communities need.

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St. Louis Janitors Ratify a Strong, New Contract

IMG_5345St. Louis Janitors Ratify a Strong, New Contract!

In the midst of the holiday season, Local 1 janitors in St. Louis ratified a new Master Janitorial contract by an overwhelming margin.. The contract, which covers over 1,700 in the St. Louis area, will give janitors the best raises they’ve had since 2010 with a 12,9% raise over the course of the contract.

 

The contract also protects crucial benefits. As healthcare premiums rise across the country, premiums for janitors will be frozenfor 3 years. Janitors also preserved their vacation day payout system; its loss would have been the equivalent of 2 weeks of lost pay.
FullSizeRender_1This contract is a step in the right direction on the path towards a full living wage for St. Louis janitors. With these significant raises, SEIU Local 1 continues to help build a nationwide movement for $15 wage for all working people.

 

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SEIU Local 1 Janitors, Adjunct Faculty Hold Rally at City Hall for Higher Wages and a Better Janitorial Contract

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

CONTACT: Izabela Miltko miltkoi@seiu1.org 708-655-9681

Nick Desideri desiderin@seiu1.org 630-779-5510

In the Midst of the Holiday Season…

SEIU Local 1 Janitors, Adjunct Faculty Hold Rally at City Hall for Higher Wages and a Better Janitorial Contract

Big Contractors Need to Stop Acting Like Scrooges, Start Paying Janitors a Living Wage

ST. LOUIS – In the midst of the holiday season, over 100 SEIU Local 1 janitors and allies rallied in front of City Hall for a living wage and a fair contract. The poverty wages janitors are currently paid severely inhibit their ability to provide for their families. 1 in 5 children in St. Louis live in poverty, but big St. Louis contractors have been naughtier than they have been nice this year, offering only nickel and dime raises while janitors and their families struggle just to get by. A higher wage will help janitors raise their families, their communities, and all of St. Louis.

“I’ve worked as a janitor for 15 years, and while the cost of living keeps going up, my wages have stayed low,” Local 1 Janitor Barbara Dace said. “The holidays are supposed to be about giving, but working parents and grandparents can barely pay rent. We’re fighting for our families, because we can’t make ends meet on such low wages.”

While people across the nation are buying gifts for their loved ones, Local 1 janitors are struggling to put food on the table. Juggling bills, food, and medical costs leaves little left over. By standing together and telling their stories, janitors built momentum in their hard-fought campaign for a better contract and a living wage.

Local 1 janitors were joined by Local 1 adjunct faculty.  Local 1 adjunct faculty stood in solidarity with janitors in their fight for a better contract to highlight the unity of all working people as they struggle to make ends meet this holiday season.  

Local 1 janitors kicked off their campaign for a better three-year contract in October. With 1 in 5 children in St. Louis living in poverty, they’re fighting for the better wages they need to support their families. Thursday’s demonstration illustrated how working people across St. Louis are ready to stand up for a higher wage.

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Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites nearly 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest. SEIU janitors, security officers, food service workers, and others are working with community leaders to advocate for the quality services the public deserves and the good jobs our communities need.

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