News & Events

SEIU Local 1 members continue to make headlines in their fight for economic and social justice! Be sure to check out their stories in the news as well as the Local 1 blog.

Lawsuit Filed Challenging Senate Bill 1007

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.”

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Gretchen Whitmer to Mark Labor Day by Meeting Detroit-Area Service Workers Calling for $15, Union Rights for All

Democratic Gov. Candidate to Address Service Workers Fighting for Unions on the Job Following Eight Years of Attacks by Michigan GOP

DETROIT – Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer will mark Labor Day Monday by meeting with caregivers who are among the 45,000 home care workers and 35,000 child care workers stripped of their union rights by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2012.

In addition to meeting with Detroit-area caregivers, Whitmer will speak with local residents who work in fast-food, healthcare, airports and other service industries who are calling on the next governor to do whatever it takes to grow unions in Michigan and make it easier for workers to come together on the job.

Who: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Detroit-area service workers in home care, child care, janitorial, fast food, airports and other industries

WhereLafayette Park, 1500 E Lafayette between Rivard and Orleans

When: 12:30p ET

Background

Stronger unions and higher wages are emerging as top issues for Michigan voters ahead of the election this November.

After vowing to strike, roughly 1,700 janitors who clean buildings in some of the most prominent downtown Detroit buildings won a path to a $15 an hour wage floor in July through their new union contract. Many Detroit janitors were previously paid just $9.45 an hour.

In June, hundreds of workers in the Fight for $15 from the Detroit metro area organized a town hallwith Michigan’s entire Democratic delegation to the U.S. House urging lawmakers to make it easier for working people to join together in unions in order to raise wages and create thriving communities.

The town hall followed a forum in April where hundreds of fast-food workers, janitors, healthcare workers and state and county employees pressed all four leading Democratic Michigan gubernatorial candidates on how they would grow unions in the state and raise wages if elected in November. The April candidate forum marked the culmination of a four-week blitz where Gretchen Whitmer, Shri Thanedar and Abdul El-Sayed spent a day shadowing union and nonunion workers in service jobs across the state.

In January, as Snyder delivered his annual State of the State address, hundreds of janitors, hospital workers and fast-food cooks protested outside his office in Detroit delivering a “Workers’ State of the State” decrying the governor’s record of blocking minimum wage increases and gutting union rights. In February, a mass of workers drowned out Snyder’s annual budget speech at the state capitol as they outlined how the governor’s policies and the economic revitalization he is touting have failed working people throughout the state.

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Chicago Window Washers Win Historic Raise

In July, Local 1 Chicago window washers hit the street on strike! Marching on City Hall, disrupting traffic and even dressing up as superheroes to bring attention to the low wages they earned. Despite the dangerous work they do every day, too many window washers were struggling to support their families and many were forced to rely on public assistance for healthcare.

ABC 7: Window washers dressed as superheroes protest as strike continues

But by sticking together, they won a historic new contract. The agreement guarantees annual raises, brings window washers to a $26 base wage over the life of the five-year contract—representing a historic 27 percent wage hike—and doubles their life insurance from $50,000 to $100,000.

“We put our livelihood on the line and won the biggest wage increase for Chicago window washers in Local 1 history,” said window washer Cruz Guzman. “Higher wages and a better life insurance policy will safeguard my family and help us build a brighter future.”

Chicago Tribune: Striking window washers ratify new contract, win wage increase to $26 hourly over the life of the deal

Chicago window washers, whose contract expired June 30, had been on an industry-wide strike since July 2 fighting for fair compensation for their treacherous work. By coming together and staying strong, they were able to win a better future for themselves and their families.

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Working People Win In Missouri!

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.

Local 1 janitor Sandy Hinson talks to the Guardian about why she was working to defeat Prop A

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 janitor Chloe Collins speaks with the Huffington Post about why laws like Prop A would have made it harder to support her daughter

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!

 

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SEIU Missouri State Council Congratulates Jalen Anderson on Primary Victory

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.”

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SEIU Missouri State Council Celebrates Wesley Bell’s Upset Primary Victory

Bell will bring much-needed trust and transparency to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office  

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.”

 

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Janitors Ratify New Contract with Historic Raises, Continue Fight for One Detroit with Higher Wages and Union Rights for All Workers

Agreement brings janitors to $15 in 3 years

DETROIT – SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 1 janitors, joined by elected allies, announced their historic contract victory where they attain a $15 wage in year three of their four year contract. Their win is the first in the movement to build One Detroit, a city in which all working people can enjoy the benefits of downtown Detroit’s resurgence with the higher wages they need to support their families and neighborhoods. These wage increases will add more than $9.3 million to Detroit’s economy and communities over the life of the contract. 

“This new contract means a better future for myself, my children and my community,” said SEIU Local 1 Detroit Metropolitan Airport Janitor Jasmine Hall. “But our fight for One Detroit isn’t over – we won’t stop until security officers, airport workers, arena workers, fast food workers and more can support their families with a $15 wage and good union jobs.”

Currently, janitors who keep downtown Detroit’s buildings, like the Renaissance Center and the Guardian Building, clean and safe are struggling to raise their families wages as low as $9.45. Median annual earnings for janitors are so low that many rely on public assistance just to make ends meet. While downtown is booming again, janitors are fighting for at least a $15 wage to ensure they can support their families and their neighborhoods.

“In the last five years alone, the Detroit City Council and Wayne County Commission have approved more than $1 billion in tax incentives in and around downtown Detroit,” said Detroit City Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield. “This contract and the campaign that led to it have sent a strong signal that as much as Detroiters celebrate downtown’s revitalization, we recognize that it is meaningless if working families aren’t experiencing the district’s economic boom. As leaders, we must continue to push for economic justice for the people whose hard work powers Detroit’s comeback every day.”

“We won today, but the fight for One Detroit isn’t over,” said Detroit City Councilwoman Janee Ayers. “This is a series of uphill battles. We have to keep fighting, keep organizing and keep pushing. This is a victory, but we truly haven’t won until every Detroit worker has a living wage. We still have work to do, and we have to keep striving together for working families, for the right to unionize and for a $15 wage.”

“Janitors came together and won a path to a $15 wage to strengthen their families and communities,” said Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen. “The fight for One Detroit will continue until all of our region’s working people win a $15 living wage and a union. We must make sure that any public tax dollars go towards creating good, family-sustaining jobs.”

In June, Local 1 janitors kicked off their campaign for a strong new contract and for One Detroit, a city in which all working people can experience the benefits of Detroit’s redevelopment. While the fight for One Detroit starts with higher wages for hardworking janitors, it also includes $15 and union rights for fast food workers, security officers, airport workers and more.

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After Four Weeks on Strike, Chicago Window Washers Ratify New Contract With Historic 27 Percent Wage Hike

Agreement with coalition of window washing companies guarantees annual raises, doubles life insurance policy

CHICAGO – After four weeks on strike, SEIU Local 1 window washers overwhelmingly ratified a new contract Friday

The agreement guarantees annual raises, brings window washers to a $26 base wage over the life of the five-year contract—representing a historic 27 percent wage hike—and doubles their life insurance from $50,000 to $100,000.

Chicago window washers, whose contract expired June 30, had been on an industry-wide strike since July 2 fighting for fair compensation for their treacherous work.

“We put our livelihood on the line and won the biggest wage increase for Chicago window washers in Local 1 history,” said window washer Cruz Guzman. “Higher wages and a better life insurance policy will safeguard my family and help us build a brighter future.”

“Our city’s brave window washers deserve nothing less than a base wage of $25 for the dangerous work they do,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “This historic victory for Chicago window washers demonstrates the power of collective bargaining and Local 1 members’ steadfast dedication to improving conditions for all working people, whether white, black or brown.”

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SEIU Local 1 Janitors, Joined by Prominent Clergy and Elected Allies, to Announce Result of Industry-Wide Strike Vote at Prayer Vigil

As 1,700 janitors enter final days of contract bargaining…

SEIU Local 1 Janitors, Joined by Prominent Clergy and Elected Allies, to Announce Result of Industry-Wide Strike Vote at Prayer Vigil

Possible janitorial strike would affect entire downtown market  

DETROIT – Today, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 1 janitors will announce the result of an industry-wide strike vote as they head into their final days of contract negotiations. SEIU Local 1 janitors, along with several of Detroit’s most prominent clergy members and elected allies, will make the announcement and pray for a positive outcome to bargaining, including the raises they need to support their families. Should negotiations for higher wages and better benefits stall, 1,700 Local 1 janitors could walk off the job after their contract expires on July 31.

Currently, janitors who keep downtown Detroit’s buildings, like the Renaissance Center and the Guardian Building, clean and safe are struggling to raise their families wages as low as $9.45. Median annual earnings for janitors are so low that many rely on public assistance just to make ends meet. While downtown is booming again, janitors are fighting for at least a $15 wage to ensure they can support their families and their neighborhoods.

Clergy, elected leaders and other labor allies will gather in front of the Compuware Building, a downtown landmark Local 1 janitors clean, to encourage and support the janitors who keep downtown running every day but are not experiencing the benefits of Detroit’s resurgence. Together, they’re continuing the fight for One Detroit, a city in which all working families can thrive and where any public money used for development go towards creating good jobs.

WHAT: SEIU Local 1 Janitors Announce Result of Industry-Wide Strike Vote

WHEN: Monday, July 23, 2018, 7:00 P.M.

WHERE: Compuware Building (in front of statue facing Campus Martius)

1050 Woodward Ave.

 Detroit, MI 48226

WHO: SEIU Local 1 Janitors

Reverend Dee Dee M. Coleman, President of the Detroit Council of Baptist Pastors and Vicinity

Reverend Dr. James C. Perkins, Immediate Past President of the Progressive Baptist Convention

Reverend Dr. E El Branch, Pastor of Third New Hope Baptist Church

Reverend Dr. Tellis Chapman, Pastor of Galilee Baptist Church

Reverend Horace L. Sheffield III, Community Activist and President of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations

Detroit Councilwoman Janee Ayers

State Representative Stephanie Chang (HD 6)

Union Affiliates of the Detroit Metro AFL-CIO

VISUALS: Janitors, clergy, elected allies holding brooms and mops, rallying, praying, holding signs

BACKGROUND: In June, Local 1 janitors kicked off their campaign for a strong new contract and for One Detroit, a city in which all working people can experience the benefits of Detroit’s redevelopment. While the fight for One Detroit starts with higher wages for hardworking janitors, it also includes $15 and union rights for fast food workers, airport workers and more.

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Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest, including janitors, security officers, higher education faculty, food service workers and others. Local 1 is committed to improving the lives of its members and all working people by winning real economic justice and standing at the forefront of the fight for immigrant, racial and environmental justice.

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Joined by Aldermen, Striking Chicago Window Washers March On City Hall as Fight for a Fair Three-Year Contract Continues

Aldermen stand in solidarity with window washers and urge Corporate Cleaning Services CEO Neal Zucker to grant three-year contract with $25/hour wage  

CHICAGO – As their ongoing strike for a fair contract continues into its third week, hundreds of SEIU Local 1 window washers descended upon City Hall—a landmark building they clean—Wednesday morning with their families. They were joined by more than a dozen Chicago aldermen to urge employers like Corporate Cleaning Services to offer fair compensation for their treacherous work. Striking window washers were greeted outside by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“Window washers clean Chicago’s landmark buildings like City Hall, the Willis Tower and the Hancock Center, but too many of us are struggling to support our families,” said SEIU Local 1 window washer Jorge Arizaga, who cleans City Hall. “It’s time our employers, like Corporate Cleaning Services, offer us a fair wage of $25 an hour in a three-year contract.”

Chicago window washers, whose contract expired June 30, have been on an industry-wide strike since July 2. They will not resume work until employers Corporate Cleaning Services return to the bargaining table and negotiate the contract window washers need to raise their families.

Window washers can count a majority of Chicago aldermen among their supporters, including Black Caucus Chairman Roderick Sawyer (6th), Latino Caucus Chairman Gilbert Villegas (36th), Progressive Reform Caucus Chairman Scott Waguespack (32nd) as well as Alds. Joe Moreno (1st), Pat Dowell (3rd), Sophia King (4th), Leslie Hairston (5th), Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), George Cardenas (12th), Marty Quinn (13th), Raymond Lopez (15th), Toni Foulkes (16th), Derrick Curtis (18th), Matthew O’Shea (19th), Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), Ricardo Muñoz (22nd), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Michael Scott Jr. (24th), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Chris Taliaferro (29th), Deb Mell (33rd), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), Emma Mitts (37th), Nicholas Sposato (38th), Brendan Reilly (42nd), John Arena (45th), James Cappleman (46th), Ameya Pawar (47th), Harry Osterman (48th) and Debra Silverstein (50th).

The window washers are fighting for a strong new three-year contract that includes a $25/hour base wage and affordable health benefits for the dangerous work they do. They are calling on Corporate Cleaning Services CEO Neal Zucker to resume negotiations and bargain a fair contract.

Every day, Chicago window washers hang hundreds of feet in the air and put their lives on the line to clean prominent buildings like the Trump and Willis Towers and City Hall. But window washers are struggling to support their families on low wages and a healthcare policy that forces many to rely on public assistance.

Window washing is an important and historic family industry in Chicago, yet many workers struggle to make ends meet on wages as low as the minimum wage cleaning the skyscrapers of billion-dollar corporations. Window washers cannot afford employer-provided healthcare, with many of their families forced to rely on public assistance just to have health coverage.

While billion-dollar buildings like Trump Tower enjoy massive tax breaks, the window washers who scale them are barely making ends meet. Meanwhile, in other markets like New York, window washers start at $21 and enjoy employer-provided healthcare, giving them the ability to support their families and communities. Chicago window washers deserve the same opportunity.

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