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SEIU Local 1 Awards 16 College Scholarships

2015 Scholarship Winners and their Parents, all SEIU Local 1 Members

2015 SEIU Local 1 Scholarship Winners and their Parents

Unions help working families fulfill their dreams in many ways. One way SEIU Local 1 does this is by providing yearly college scholarships.

SEIU Local 1 recently awarded almost $40,000 in scholarships to sixteen members’ children, including a grand prize scholarship of $10,000.

Every year, SEIU Local 1 awards college scholarships to members and their children. These scholarships enable recipients to pursue their educational goals at colleges, universities, labor study programs and technical schools. Scholarships are funded by SEIU Local 1’s annual golf outing.

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Hundreds of Members Gather for Our 2015 Leadership Convention

SEIU0044
On January 31st, hundreds of SEIU Local 1 member leaders from across the Midwest gathered in Chicago to make a plan to win better wages and benefits for their families, and to ultimately raise America with good jobs.

Contracts expire on April 5, 2015 for nearly 12,000 janitors in Chicago including Chicago Public School custodians and other city and county buildings along with janitors working in office buildings in downtown Chicago and across Chicagoland. Similar janitorial contracts are expiring for approximately 130,000 janitors around the country throughout 2015 and 2016; Chicago is the first city to negotiate.

L1-facebook-sherri-3-2-15-3Chicago’s janitors work hard to keep our offices, our schools and our city clean and healthy. They clean the equivalent of nearly 33,000 miles of office space every night, vacuuming our floors, emptying our trash, and sanitizing our bathrooms. They clean build  ings of major corporations—such as JP Morgan Chase, McDonald’s, AT&T, Kraft, CME Group, United and Boeing—and public facilities like Chicago Public Schools and city, county and federal buildings.

L1-facebook-luisa-3-2-15-2CEOs of Chicago’s largest public corporations brought in more than $650 million in 2013. It would take a janitor in downtown Chicago more than 200 years to make what one CEO is paid in a single year. Those corporations raked in $678 billion in revenue, but as many as two thirds of all Illinois corporations are not paying any state corporate income taxes. These corporations are using their power to get millions in tax deals from the city and state.

We know that rich corporations can afford to support good jobs that boost our economy, lift our communities, and pave a better future for Chicago and the Midwest. That’s why we’re taking action to win better jobs for janitors and all workers. Raising pay will put money into the hands of working moms and dads so they can put more money back into our communities and help create more good jobs.

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Realize Your College Dreams

scholarship winner seiu local 1Unions help working families fulfill their dreams in many ways. At SEIU Local 1, this includes yearly college scholarship opportunities. These scholarships enable SEIU Local 1 members and their children to pursue their education goals at colleges, universities, labor study programs and technical schools.

Make sure to research the following opportunities for SEIU Local 1 members and your children – the deadlines for applications are coming up!

  • SEIU Local 1 offers various scholarships to its members’ children, with a top scholarship of $10,000 – the deadline to apply is Friday, April 3, 2015. Download the two-part application here.
  • Chicago Federation of Labor offers Chicagoland members scholarships based on either lottery or academic excellence for $1,000. The period for submitting applications is January 1 through March 1, 2015. See more information here.
  • SEIU International offers various college scholarships. Applications must be postmarked or filed online by midnight March 2, 2015. See more information here.
  • Union Plus has college scholarships available from $400 to $4,000. Deadline is Saturday, January 31, 2015, 12pm (noon) Eastern Time. See more information here.
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Statement From Mary Kay Henry On Grand Jury Decision In Ferguson

Today, the grand jury’s decision deepens those wounds and amplifies even more the disproportionate and disparate injustices experienced by communities of color.

“For months, families across our nation have experienced collective grief and outrage over the taking of Michael Brown’s life and the resulting turmoil that has upended the community in Ferguson, Missouri. Today, the grand jury’s decision deepens those wounds and amplifies even more the disproportionate and disparate injustices experienced by communities of color. These injustices reverberate through all communities and take our nation another step away from a fair and just society.

Our disappointment in today’s decision does not extinguish the hope in our hearts for a better America for all our children regardless of where they were born or in which zip code they live.

Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. All lives matter. The dream of America can never be fully realized until justice and safety prevail in every community across our country. The Department of Justice must prioritize the investigation into the murder of Michael Brown.

SEIU members stand with our brothers and sisters in Ferguson and across the nation in expressing our grief and frustration. We join them in calling for something better for all neighborhoods and communities and joining together in peaceful demonstrations at federal courthouses across the country.

More information can be found here (http://nationalactionnetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/HANDS-UP-JUSTICE-RALLY-FLIER-11-21.pdf).  We encourage all involved law enforcement to honor the rules and the rights of people to protest and speak out.

We will not rest in these efforts until America is a more just society where every human being is respected and every community has equal opportunity to thrive.

For Immediate Release: November 24, 2014

Media Contact: Beau Boughamer; beau.boughamer@seiu.org; 202/765-9143

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Washington University adjunct faculty take a step toward unionization [St. Louis Post Dispatch]

washington univA group of Washington University adjunct instructors have taken a crucial step toward forming a union.

The Service Employees International Union Local 1 has filed a petition for a union election with the federal government on the instructors’ behalf.

The petition makes Washington University’s adjunct faculty the first such group in St. Louis to reach that milestone amid a larger nationwide push for higher pay and improved job security.

Adjuncts are typically part-time, low-wage faculty who teach classes when full-time instructors are already overloaded with courses.

Among their major complaints are low wages and a lack of job security. Adjuncts typically work on semester-long contracts, not knowing whether they will be asked to work beyond their current semester.

Leonard Perez, an administrator with the National Labor Relations Board for the St. Louis region, said his agency could hold a hearing between Washington University and the SEIU as early as Friday.

The hearing, Perez explains, would come only if the university challenges whether adjuncts have the proper standing for the SEIU to represent them.

The university could also go the other way, Perez said, and voluntarily agree to a union election. At that point, it would be a matter of scheduling the date and time of a secret ballot election.

Washington University Provost Holden Thorp said although the university has been aware of the effort to unionize for months, administrators have not yet decided how to respond to the petition.

“We are very mindful of the concerns our adjuncts have. We are always looking for new ways to help with (job security),” Thorp said. He added that Washington University typically offers adjuncts higher wages than other schools.

Also, WU administrators are considering creating space for adjuncts to hold office hours and granting them more input within their respective departments on which classes are taught, Thorp said.

Much of the noise surrounding the unionization of adjuncts has come from the SEIU’s Adjunct Action campaign.

The SEIU has said the campaign is meant to address the chronically poor working conditions adjuncts face.

Adjunct Action scored a major victory Friday when Tufts University agreed to a contract with roughly 200 part-time faculty guaranteeing them a 22 percent pay raise over the next three years. The contract also offers one-year contracts and a first crack at full-time openings.

Elizabeth Lemons, part-time instructor in Tufts’ religion department since 1999, said the yearlong effort to unionize was largely painless.

“I’d characterize the negotiations as nonadversarial and more geared toward problem-solving,” Lemons said. “It was about justice and fairness.”

Chris Boehm, 33, is hoping for a similar result. Boehm has been working at Washington University as an adjunct writing instructor since 2011. He teaches either two or three classes a semester, earning between $18,000 and $24,000 a year.

Boehm, who works on semester-long contracts, said he can never be sure if he’s going to be employed six months into the future. For the past year, he’s been working with the SEIU to build support for unionization.

Washington University has slightly more than 400 adjunct positions. Generally, the threshold for filing a petition for a union election requires 30 percent participation from a group, or 120 adjunct faculty in the case of Washington University.

Boehm said he doesn’t know exactly how many adjuncts support forming a union, but those who are in favor typically share a similar outlook.

“I think we want some sort of job security,” he said. “Full benefits and livable wage would also be nice.”

Boehm’s story is a familiar one among adjuncts. After earning a Ph.D. in 2012, he’s struggled to find full-time work.

“I’ve been looking for a full-time job for the last three years,” he said. “I’ve tried at high schools, community colleges, major research institutions, private liberal arts schools … I’ve applied for just about everything.”

For Thorp, Washington University’s provost, Boehm’s plight is indicative of a larger issue among the country’s colleges and universities.

He said leaders in higher education haven’t devoted enough thought to whether the country’s job market can support the number of Ph.D. graduates that universities produce.

“There’s a reason we can go and get someone to teach these classes for a few thousand (dollars),” Thorp said. “It’s because there are Ph.D.s out there who couldn’t get a full-time or a tenure-track job. We need for universities to come together and really grapple with this.”

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SEIU Local 1 Elects New Executive Board

Executive Board
At the September 6, 2014, membership meeting, a new SEIU Local 1 Executive Board was elected and sworn in. The slate of nominees was uncontested and the new board members were voted in by acclamation at every SEIU Local 1 membership meeting across our six states. We look forward to the new Executive Board’s leadership. You can read the list of the current board officers and members.

We also celebrate the years of service that the outgoing board members dedicated to their SEIU Local 1 brothers and sisters. Be sure to thank these leaders for all that they have done for working families in the Midwest.

OutgoingEboard members

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VIDEO! KCPS Launches Program to Help Put an end to bullying [KCTV 5 News]

KCTV5

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – The Kansas City Public School District just launched a new program this week to try to put an end to bullying.

In it, schools will have new rules against it and teachers will go through special training.

While this program is new to the school district, one woman who works there has already been working to stop bullies in their tracks.

Desiree Saunders’ kitchen at the cafeteria at Northeast High School is a bully-free zone. Bullying isn’t tolerated by Saunders and her campaign is changing attitudes for students throughout the school.

“Because you get a lot more bees with honey,” she said.

The bees Saunders is talking about are troubled students. Respect is her honey.

“I care. A lot of these students go through a lot. They’re paying bills at home. These are the only two meals a student gets a day,” she said.

Saunders calls every student by their first name and, in return, they lovingly call her Miss D.

“Some of the students here, believe it or not, they just want to interact, they just want you to say something to them, show that you do care,” she said.

The lunch lady’s caring approach is to curb bullying at Northeast High School.

“Students being bullied for their food, being bullied for money. I’ve seen students in here writing papers for students because they say, ‘Hurry up do my work’. No, we’re not going to do that,” Saunders said.

When the teens walk in, Miss D gets on her microphone and begins her lesson.

“I’ll say, you know, ‘That’s one of your classmates, that’s your little brother or your little sister, so we have to stick together, we have to protect each other,'” she said.

Every year Miss D recruits for her anti-bully squad. She gets the cool kids to stick up for the students being bullied.
“We need our anti-bully squad to be ready for anyone who needs it,” Saunders said.

Johnisha Griffin was one such student. Classmates picked on her for the way she dressed. That was before Miss D stepped in and gave her a new focus.

“By being myself. Telling me to go far in life and get my education,” Griffin said.

“The bullying has stopped and everyone is a fan of Johnisha Griffin,” Sanders said. I’m here for the person who’s not going to speak up for themselves. I am one of a few good men, so I’m here for that.”

Students at the school have said that while there’s no bullying in the lunch room, it does find its way in the classroom and district officials want to put a stamp to that.

KCPS’ new anti-bullying program is based off of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. It focuses on four core components that include school-level, classroom-level, individual-level and community-level. Click here to find out exactly how it focuses on those four components.

KCPS’ program will train more teachers to stop the problem by responding to the problem just like Miss D.

By Laura McCallister and Erika Tallan, August 14, 2014.

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SEIU Local 1 Member Newsletter – Summer 2014

Layout 1Stay informed on what is happening across your local.

“We need a strong economy that works for all—not just the wealthy few. Chicago should be the next big city to pay workers the wages they need to provide a decent life for themselves and a better one for their children.” Tom Balanoff, SEIU Local 1 President

The newsletter is available in:

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Adjunct Faculty Exploring Unionization [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

53f805d4858c1.preview-620Nine months out of the year, Andrew Nelson works about 50 hours a week, driving his 1995 Mazda on either 50- or 100-mile round trips every weekday to his college teaching gigs at Lindenwood University in St. Charles and East Central College in Union.

He gets paid just $22,000 a year combined — without the benefit of a retirement package or health care coverage.

Nelson is one of an estimated 4,000 adjunct faculty working in the St. Louis area. All together, they make up the working class of the academic community. They are the low-wage earners who teach classes when full-time faculty are already overloaded with heavy course loads, and they fill in when teaching departments are short-staffed.

For the past few years, a number of shadow campaigns to unionize adjunct faculty have bubbled up at area colleges in the hopes of giving those workers job security, a voice in campus decision-making and to negotiate for benefits and better pay.

While a number of those campaigns have fizzled out before they could gain traction, college leaders have been reluctant to speak about the issue publicly. Privately, however, they acknowledge that it’s a growing movement nationally.

Colleges and universities around the country have been relying on adjuncts more and more as a way to save money as state funding for higher education continues a steady decline now approaching 25 years.

That trend picked up steam in recent years. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that states spent about $2,300, or 28 percent, less per student in 2013 than in 2008.

What the money crunch means for teachers such as Nelson, who has a master’s degree in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia, is that low-paying adjunct positions are plentiful, while full-time faculty jobs are not.

Nelson gets paid about $2,500 a semester for every three-credit course he teaches. So he picks up as many courses as he can, splitting his time between two universities to make ends meet.

But, he said, it’s not just about money.

“The most important thing is that we have no input into the departments we work in. We have no say on textbooks, either,” he said. “So other people determine what we are going to teach and how we are going to teach it.”

Nelson also said adjuncts miss out on holding office hours to better connect with students, plus paid faculty development days which help instructors become better at their jobs.

UNCERTAIN WORK

A congressional report released in January by the Democratic staff of the House Education and the Workforce Committee suggests that Nelson’s concerns are shared broadly by adjunct professors nationwide. The report found that 98 percent of respondents to an online forum said they were “missing opportunities to better serve their students because of the demands of their schedule.”

The report acknowledges that some who serve as adjunct professors do so to supplement the income from other full-time jobs. But increasingly, the report found, instructors are cobbling together multiple adjunct jobs as colleges rely on them “to do the bulk of the work of educating students.”

“The trend should be of concern to policymakers both because of what it means for the living standards and work lives of those individuals we expect to educate the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, and other highly skilled workers, and what it may mean for the quality of higher education itself,” the report states.

The report, titled “The Just-in-Time Professor,” draws connections to trends in fast food and retail employment, where workers have little to no means of predicting their work schedules.

That’s been a complaint of Gail Brody, one of six adjunct faculty working alongside two full-time instructors in the architectural program at St. Louis Community College at Meramec in Kirkwood.

Brody has been at the school for 20 years, but, as an adjunct, her schedule is determined by which classes fill up with students and which faculty are available to teach those classes.

She said she generally only finds out whether she will be teaching and what courses she will have just days before each semester starts.

“So you don’t really know if you are going to have that part of your income,” she said. In the meantime, Brody works a retail job that offers her health care coverage.

“The school wouldn’t keep me around for 20 years if I wasn’t a good instructor,” she said. “But you can’t depend on adjunct money. I would be on board with unionizing if it would lead to health care benefits and some consistency.”

‘A SERVANT SUBCLASS’

The Service Employees International Union has been leading the push at several St. Louis-area colleges, and while the organization doesn’t like to state publicly which schools it is looking at, teachers at Lindenwood, St. Louis Community College at Meramec and St. Louis University have said they have been approached.

Nancy Cross, vice president of the SEIU Local 1, said unionizing adjunct faculty has taken on greater significance over the years as full-time faculty positions dry up.

“You have people who spent a lot of time and money to get highly educated with the idea that there was going to be full-time positions available,” she said. “So they leave college with a lot of loans and the full-time positions aren’t there anymore.”

Cross’ point is one that has some traction in Washington. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has been pushing a loan forgiveness program for adjunct faculty.

Durbin’s office reports that from 1991 to 2011, the number of part-time faculty doubled, with many of those workers being adjunct teachers who have an annual income of $25,000 or less, on average.

Durbin argues that adjunct faculty who try to support themselves solely by teaching end up working at multiple schools and carrying a full-time workload but without benefits including paid sick days, vacation and access to health care.

“The vast majority of these educators hold advanced degrees, and as a result, bear the heavy burden of student loan debt,” Durbin said in a statement. “It is only right that we expand their access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, a benefit already available to many of their full-time colleagues.”

Even though adjunct faculty appear to have some national support, it’s unclear how their attempts to unionize will play with full-time faculty in the area.

St. Louis University mathematics professor Steve Harris said he welcomes unionization for adjuncts. He said their current role is that of “a servant subclass,” and that needs to be fixed.

But Dennis Michaelis, St. Louis Community College’s interim chancellor, said he knows of full-time faculty who are against collective bargaining for adjuncts.

Michaelis wouldn’t elaborate, but the common argument is that as adjuncts get a larger share of the pie, there is a possibility that full-time faculty will see their share shrink.

Bob Thumith, SLCC’s director of human resources, said the SEIU’s aggressive tactics — petitioning faculty outside classrooms and elsewhere on campuses — has turned a lot of people off.

“These types of things are supposed to happen organically,” he said. “A lot of teachers don’t like to be bothered in their classrooms.”

Thumith said a push for unionization at SLCC campuses is dying down, as far as he knows.

Whether unionization for adjuncts takes off in the St. Louis area, Southern Illinois University President Randall Dunn said schools will have to adapt.

Forming a union is the logical “response to the second-class-citizen status adjunct faculty have at many institutions,” Dunn said.

If a push to unionize at one of his campuses was successful, it would simply become a more complex budgeting matter.

“We’d have to find the money from other sources,” he said. “Some administrators look at collective bargaining as this terrible thing. I don’t view it that way. It’s a part of doing business.”

By Koran Addo for St. Louis Post-Dispatch; August 24, 2014.

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2014 Member/Supporter Survey

2014 Survey ResultsMore 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.

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