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.

SEIU Local 1 Janitor Sandy Hinson Responds to Governor Greitens’ State of the State Address

SEIU Local 1 Janitor Sandy Hinson Responds to Governor Greitens’ State of the State Address: “In 2018, Working People Will Remind the Governor Who Pays His Salary”

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.”

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SEIU Illinois State Council Endorses Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for Congress

SEIU Illinois State Council Endorses Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for Congress

Garcia will be a strong progressive voice in Congress for economic justice, immigrant rights

CHICAGO – The SEIU Illinois State Council, which represents 150,000 janitors, home and health care workers, higher education faculty, security officers, doorstaff, public employees, and more today announced its endorsement of Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to replace outgoing Representative Luis Gutierrez in Illinois’ 4th Congressional District.

“Now, more than ever, we need a strong progressive voice in Congress to stand up for working people and fight back against the backwards priorities of the Trump Administration,” said SEIU Illinois State Council President Tom Balanoff. “With his commitment to raising the minimum wage to $15, expanding affordable health care access and protecting immigrant rights, Chuy Garcia will be that progressive leader for the working families of Illinois.”

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of 150,000 janitors, home care and child care workers, security officers, doorstaff, public employees, and social service workers of the SEIU Illinois State Council,” said Garcia. “As Congressman, I will work with SEIU members and other allies in the labor movement to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected. This starts with raising the minimum wage to $15 indexed to CPI, supporting immigrant communities,  and ensuring more working families have access to quality, affordable health care.”

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The SEIU Illinois State Council represents more than 150,000 working people, including home care and child care providers, security officers, janitors, as well as public employees, medical professionals, first responders and social service workers. SEIU members are winning better wages, health care, and more secure jobs, while ensuring that working people, not just the wealthy and well-connected, benefit from today’s economy.

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SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff: “Congress Must Take a Stand Now” to Protect Working Families Under TPS

SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff: “Congress Must Take a Stand Now” to Protect Working Families Under TPS

Trump Administration’s decision will force hundreds of thousands into undocumented status

CHICAGO — Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 200,000 Salvadorans, the largest group protected under TPS, who have been living and working legally in the U.S. since 2001. The action comes on the heels of November decisions to terminate TPS for more than 45,000 Haitian immigrants and 2,500 Nicaraguan immigrants.

“The Trump Administration’s cruel action today will force hundreds of thousands into undocumented status, tearing working moms and dads from their families and their communities,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “Congress must take a stand now against racism, division and bigotry by ensuring TPS holders, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades, can continue working and supporting their families. If Congress does not act, we will hold them accountable for their failure at the ballot box in November.”

DHS is providing a grace period of 18 months after which TPS recipients from El Salvador must leave the U.S. or be deported. The announcement makes clear that the same fate is likely for more than 57,000 Hondurans with TPS, whose status will be reevaluated in May. In all, more than 300,000 working people who have been legally present here for years face likely expulsion unless Congress acts to protect them.

SEIU members include foreign-born U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and immigrants authorized to work in the United States. Many SEIU Local 1 members have mixed-status families, they will continue to speak out support of TPS extension until Congress does the right thing.

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Officers at DePaul continue their fight into 2018!

 

 

 

As 2017 comes to an end, we want to keep you updated on the security officers at DePaul University and their fight for a better future! Currently, Guardian Security Services Inc. officers who work at DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus, ensure that thousands of students, faculty, and staff, can safely live and learn yet many of these same officers struggle for the basics like groceries and CTA passes.

DePaul students have continued to show their support and solidarity for the officers by gathering, spreading the word on campus, and reaching out to DePaul leadership to discuss choosing a responsible, union security contractor. On October 24th, they joined Guardian Security officers as they went on an unfair labor practice strike. The whole city of Chicago is watching their fight. Read more about their one-day ULP strike over at The Chicago Sun-Times, CBS News, and DNAinfo!

The fight isn’t over! Be on the lookout for updates in January 2018 as Guardian Officers at DePaul continue their fight for a voice on the job and a better future for their families.

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St. Louis Lambert Janitors Ratify Strong New Contract

Local 1 Janitors at St. Louis Lambert International Airport Ratify Agreement with Good Annual Raises, Better Benefits

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.

 

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O’Hare Airport Worker Fights Against Trump’s Travel Ban

Chicago airport worker and Syrian refugee Mohammad Al Zayed is fighting against the Trump administration’s unjust travel ban.

Al Zayed, a janitor at O’Hare Airport, talked to the Associated Press on December 3 about how the travel ban would impact him and his family.

The article ran in The Washington Post and hundreds of other news outlets worldwide!

Fight over Trump travel restrictions back to appeals courts

(Ted S. Warren, File/Associated Press)

SEATTLE — For most of the time Syrian refugee Mohammad Al Zayed has been in the United States, judges have been wrestling with the Trump administration’s efforts to impose travel restrictions that he says would keep him from seeing relatives who remain overseas.

It’s taken an emotional toll — one that continues this week as two U.S. appeals courts take up the issue yet again.

“It’s been 10 months, and we’re stuck,” Al Zayed, a janitor at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, said through an Arabic interpreter. “We can’t go back. We can’t bring our loved ones here.”

Citing national security concerns, President Donald Trump announced his initial travel ban on citizens of certain Muslim-majority nations in late January, bringing havoc and protests to airports around the country. A federal judge in Seattle soon halted that ban as discriminatory, and since then, the restrictions have been up to the U.S. Supreme Court and back down to the federal district courts as the administration has rewritten them.

The third and latest version targets about 150 million potential travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

The administration said the latest ban is based on assessments of each country’s security situation and their willingness to share information about travelers. But judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked it to varying degrees just before it was due to take effect in October. The judges found that the ban appears impermissibly discriminatory, has no legitimate national security purpose and violates U.S. immigration law.

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Seattle on the government’s appeal of the Hawaii judge’s ruling. The panel has already narrowed that decision to allow the administration to bar travelers who do not have a “bona fide” relationship with people or organizations already in the U.S. — an approach that echoed the Maryland judge’s ruling as well as an earlier travel ban decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

A full complement of 13 judges on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is due to hear the government’s appeal in the Maryland case on Friday in Richmond, Virginia.

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Al Zayed, 50, arrived in the U.S. via Jordan in September 2016 with his wife, two sons and daughter after fleeing horrific fighting in Syria, which destroyed the textile factory where he worked and prevented his children from attending school. Al Zayed’s case is among several laid out in friend-of-the-court briefs filed by labor organizations opposed to the travel ban.

Al Zayed says he’s afraid he wouldn’t be able to return if he visited family overseas. His two brothers and parents remain in Syria, and he’s afraid he’ll never see his 85-year-old father again if the travel ban is upheld. Nevertheless, he says he’s happy to be here.

“Syria was very difficult — an impossible life for us,” he said. “So despite that they have the Muslim ban, I think, ‘Thank God that we are here.’”

Read the full article over at The Washington Post.

 

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Membership Meeting Recap and Season’s Greetings!

Wishing you a very happy holiday season and prosperous New Year from SEIU Local 1!

On December 2, members in all 11 Local 1 cities joined together and brought festive cheer to our final membership meeting of 2017!

Together, we celebrated the holiday season and our recent successes, including the thousands of members who have reaffirmed their commitment to our union. We also looked onward to all our important contract fights coming up next year and prepared to keep up the fight for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice in 2018!

Here are highlights from our meetings in Akron, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and St. Louis:

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Puerto Rican U.S. Veterans, SEIU Local 1 Honor Veterans and Demand Real Relief for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican U.S. Veterans, Including Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient and Alds. Milly Santiago and Gilbert Villegas, Join Community Allies to Honor Veterans, Demand Sufficient Federal Hurricane and Debt Relief for Puerto Rico

Multi-city national week of action urged the federal government to provide Puerto Rico, including its 330,000 U.S. veterans and 35,000 active duty U.S. military personnel, with all the support it needs to recover, rebuild and grow

CHICAGO – During Veterans Day week, Puerto Rican U.S. veterans—including a Purple Heart and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient as well as Chicago Alds. Milly Santiago (31st), a former Army Reservist, and Gilbert Villegas (36th), a former Marine and chair of the City Council’s Latino and Veteran caucuses—joined community allies Thursday morning at Federal Plaza.

They gathered to honor all who have served in America’s armed forces and support our fellow U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico who remain in urgent need of aid nearly two months after Hurricane Maria.

“Don’t forget Puerto Rico,” said Corporal ​Tomas Lozada, a Korean War veteran ​who was part of the 65th Infantry Regiment Borinqueneers of Puerto Rico and is a Purple Heart and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. “We served the United States, and they are supposed to serve us.”

The group demanded that the federal government provide sufficient hurricane relief to Puerto Rico and eliminate the island’s $73 billion debt load, which has burdened Puerto Rican families for years and is holding back hurricane recovery efforts.

“It’s frustrating that in this day and age, 50 days later, that Puerto Rico is still without electricity, still without portable water, and people are leaving the island in droves to come to the mainland,” Ald. Villegas said.

“We want to tell our dear President Trump that Puerto Rico needs more than paper towels,” Ald. Santiago added.

Vamos4PR, a coalition of community, labor and civil rights organizations fighting for a fair economy for all Puerto Ricans, organized Chicago’s action and similar events throughout the week in at least three other cities, including Boston, New York and Hartford, Conn.

The coalition believes Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis shouldn’t be ignored or made worse by big banks seeking payouts. It’s time to eliminate Puerto Rico’s crippling public debt altogether.

BACKGROUND: There are 330,000 U.S. veterans and 35,000 active duty U.S. military personnel from Puerto Rico. Since the Korean War, 1,119 Puerto Ricans have died serving the United States. Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens for more than 100 years. They pay federal taxes such as Social Security and Medicare. The federal government has the same responsibilities toward them as other U.S. citizens.

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SEIU Local 1 Slams Republican Leaders for Allowing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Expire for Working Families

SEIU Local 1 Slams Republican Leaders for Allowing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Expire for Working Families

CHICAGO — Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 2,500 Nicaraguans who have been living and working legally in the U.S. since January of 1999.

“Today’s heartless action will uproot working families who have been here legally for decades and force them to an undocumented status, which is why now more than ever we must stand united against racism, division and bigotry,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “Congress now has a moral obligation to act quickly to ensure that TPS holders can keep their jobs, be protected from deportation and continue to support their families.”

DHS is providing a grace period of 14 months after which TPS recipients from Nicaragua must leave the U.S. or be deported. The announcement makes clear that the same fate is likely for more than 57,000 Hondurans with TPS, about 195,000 Salvadorans, and it bodes poorly for the fate of another 50,000 Haitians as well as smaller numbers of working people from four other countries awaiting decisions within the next year. In all, more than 300,000 working people who have been legally present here for years face likely expulsion unless Congress acts to protect them.

SEIU members include foreign-born U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and immigrants authorized to work in the United States. Many SEIU Local 1 members have mixed-status families, they will continue to speak out support of TPS extension until Congress does the right thing.

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Joined By DePaul University Students and Faculty, Building Security Officers Who Secure DePaul Hold Unfair Labor Practice Strike

Joined By DePaul University Students and Faculty, Building Security Officers Who Secure DePaul Hold Unfair Labor Practice Strike

After gathering more than 1,000 student signatures, students joined security officers to demand that DePaul’s administration support good jobs by replacing Guardian Security Services, Inc.

CHICAGO  — On Tuesday morning, DePaul University students, faculty, community allies and SEIU Local 1 joined non-union Guardian Security Services, Inc. officers as they went on a one-day unfair labor practice strike.

Guardian Security is the security contractor for DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus. Students, allies and non-union officers called on DePaul’s administration to replace Guardian Security with a responsible union contractor, which the university uses for janitors and security officers at four other campus sites.  

The officers’ campaign has strong support from allies and the community, with more than 1,000 students on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus signing a petition calling for their university to hire a contractor that prioritizes the safety of the campus over profits.

“This issue directly affects me and my fellow DePaul students because it’s our safety that is at stake, and it is our tuition dollars that pay for the security contractor on our campus,” said Alex Boutros, a senior at DePaul. “We’re here today to call on the DePaul administration to do the right thing: Stop taking advantage of these workers and hire a responsible security contractor that respects its workers and gives them a voice on the job.”

From alleged gender and racial discrimination to trouble with the National Labor Relations Board, Guardian Security has shown itself to be an irresponsible contractor. Many Guardian Security officers live in poverty and struggle to pay for basic needs, like groceries and CTA passes.

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Service Employees International Union Local 1 (SEIU 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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