DETROIT – Yesterday, downtown Detroit security officers walked off the job in an unfair labor practice strike to protest over threats of retaliation from their employer for trying to come together with coworkers for union rights and at least $15. In a show of solidarity with striking officers, SEIU Local 1 janitors and members of Detroit Metro AFL-CIO affiliates did not cross the picket lines, refusing to clean and service affected buildings. Following, a number of 2020 presidential candidates expressed their support for the security officers in their fight for union rights and at least $15:
“Every worker in this country deserves the dignity that comes with fair wages and benefits — and the right to collectively bargain. I’m proud to stand with Detroit security officers today as they fight for a $15 minimum wage and union rights. #OneDetroit” -Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden
“It’s a shame that the people who are often first in line to protect their city are not offered protection of their own in the form of fair wages & workers’ rights. I am proud to support downtown Detroit security officers in their fight for union rights. #OneDetroit #FightFor15.” – Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
“All working people have a right to form a union in a fast and fair process. I am proud to support downtown Detroit security officers, who are committed to doing whatever it takes to win union rights and at least $15 an hour. #OneDetroit.” – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
“As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of #JusticeforJanitors, let’s remember the fight for worker equality is alive today and needs our support. I stand with #OneDetroit and the downtown security officers. We must stand together with workers to hold corporations accountable.” –Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
“I stand in solidarity with Detroit security officers in their #FightFor15 and their right to a union. #OneDetroit #StandforSecurity.” – Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA 15th District)
“I stand with Detroit security officers in their fight to protect their right to a union and at least $15 an hour #FightFor15 #OneDetroit #StandforSecurity” – Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13th District)
“Detroit security officers have a right to form a union. I stand with them. #OneDetroit #StandforSecurity” – Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest, including janitors, security officers, airport workers, 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.
CLEVELAND – SEIU Local 1 janitors, who keep Cleveland’s most prominent buildings clean and are amid contract bargaining, rallied for $15 this afternoon under the iconic Playhouse Square chandelier to highlight how downtown’s boom has left too many neighborhoods behind. Union janitors, security officers and other supporters from Cincinnati, Columbus, Chicago, Detroit, Huston, New York and Portland rallied with Cleveland janitors in solidarity.
“In Cuyahoga County, the poverty rate for a family of four is about $25,000 a year. That’s more than what most janitors currently make,” said Local 1 janitor Craig Watson, who works at the Key Tower skyscraper. “We’re working to put food on the table and provide for our children. We need at least $15 an hour to better support our families.”
Today’s rally came on the heels of the janitor-led “Tale of Two Clevelands” trolley tour, during which Cleveland janitors drew attention to the neglect their neighborhoods have faced during downtown’s redevelopment. Today, janitors brought their fight for $15 directly to the epicenter of Cleveland’s booming resurgence.
Janitors play an essential role in keeping Cleveland clean and safe. Their contribution to our city’s renaissance is clear to anyone walking through downtown—Geis Companies, The K&D Group, Bedrock or AmTrust Financial. Our city’s janitors, however, experience another side of Cleveland. In the shadow of our city’s revival, there is another story where the mostly minority working poor, their families and their communities are struggling to get by.
Local 1 Cleveland janitors are in the process of negotiating their next union contract, which covers much of downtown’s commercial real estate community. Contract negotiations will resume next week, during which janitors will continue to press for a clear path to $15 an hour.
In addition to fighting for fair pay, Cleveland janitors hope to pave the foundation for One Cleveland—a truly prosperous city where everybody thrives.
CHICAGO – The SEIU Illinois State Council applauds Toni Preckwinkle’s plan to push for a $15 minimum wage for Chicago working families by 2021.
Under Preckwinkle’s proposal, the minimum wage will increase by 50 cents every six months before reaching $15 by July 2021. The plan also calls for the Chicago Office of Labor Standards, which is currently in formation, to review the city’s minimum wage on a yearly basis and propose additional minimum wage hikes, if necessary.
“While other candidates fail to commit to a timeline on the issue, Toni Preckwinkle’s bold plan to raise Chicago’s minimum wage to $15 by 2021 proves that she is the true progressive in the race for mayor,” said SEIU Local 1 member Michael Ortiz, a wheelchair attendant at Midway Airport. “A $15 citywide minimum wage will help hundreds of thousands of working people across the city build a better future for ourselves, our families and our communities.”
Major progressive union representing 50,000 janitors, security officers, residential doorstaff and more makes endorsement in City Treasurer race
“Alderman Pawar has demonstrated his commitment to improving the lives of Chicago’s working families,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “SEIU Local 1 members across the city are ready to do what it takes to get him elected and look forward to working together to lift all of Chicago’s neighborhoods.”
“More than ever, we need elected leaders who will fight alongside us on issues like a $15 minimum wage and union rights,” said Chicago Public Schools custodian Paula Henriquez. “Local 1 members are ready to get out the vote in our communities for Alderman Ameya Pawar because he stood with us in many of our fights and will continue to do so.”
“Whether fighting for fair wages and better working conditions at O’Hare Airport or walking the picket line with striking window washers, I am proud to have always stood with the members of SEIU Local 1,” said City Treasurer candidate and 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar. “I am grateful to have their support as we center the needs of working families in the Office of the City Treasurer.”
Representing more than 50,000 working people, Local 1 janitors, security officers, residential doorstaff and more support candidates who have demonstrated strong records on issues important to working families. By coming together on the job, SEIU Local 1 members are winning higher wages, better benefits and a brighter future for their families and their communities.
MILWAUKEE – The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 janitor Amicar Zapata, who works at U.S. Bank Center in Milwaukee, regarding governor-elect Tony Evers’ victory in Wisconsin:
“The working people of SEIU Local 1 are proud to support and congratulate governor-elect Tony Evers on his election victory. SEIU members called and texted thousands of Wisconsinites and knocked on more than 20,000 doors prior to the election to help ensure his win.
“While the greedy few are trying to divide working people against each other and take away our healthcare protections, we can count on Tony to bring us together and safeguard our healthcare. The anti-worker era of Scott Walker is over, and the Badger State is ready to turn the page.
“We look forward to working alongside governor-elect Evers to advance policies and public services that put the interests of working people first, whether white, Black, or brown.”