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 Janitors Launch Inspiring ‘One Columbus’ Campaign to Fight for Better Pay and Dignity on the Job

Joined by Columbus Councilmember Liz Brown and a Swelling of Labor and Community Allies from across Ohio…

SEIU Local 1 Janitors Launch Inspiring ‘One Columbus’ Campaign to Fight for Better Pay and Dignity on the Job

Janitors kick off campaign to secure path to $15 hourly wage, union rights for all working people in Columbus

COLUMBUS – Joined by City of Columbus Councilmember Liz Brown and dozens of labor and community allies from across Ohio, SEIU Local 1 janitors rallied Monday afternoon in the Nationwide Arena District to launch their fight for a strong new contract with a path to $15 and better benefits.

“Janitors like me work hard—day in and day out—keeping Columbus clean and running smoothly. Our skilled labor helps contribute to our city’s prosperity, yet many of us can barely afford our groceries or to go to the doctor when we are sick,” said downtown Columbus janitor Cristal Sylla, who has cleaned the 325 John McConnell Boulevard office building for the past four years. “Janitors simply want a fair shot at a good future for our families and our communities. That’s why we’re fighting for good jobs, a strong new contract and a brighter Columbus for all—whether you are Black, white or brown.”

While downtown Columbus is booming with new development worth billions of dollars, the 750 local janitors who do dignified and skilled work to ensure our city runs smoothly are forced to raise their families on wages as low as $11.50. That equals an annual salary of about $23,920, which qualifies a full-time janitor for public assistance for housing, food and healthcare.

“Columbus janitorial workers provide essential services – doing difficult, often thankless, and indispensable work that keeps many downtown buildings clean and safe. Janitors deserve a contract that helps them support themselves and their families, not only because it’s good for them but because it’s good for Columbus. When workers earn the living wages and good benefits that reflect the dignity of their work, it makes all our families stronger.” said Columbus Councilmember Elizabeth Brown, who supports a path to $15.

Many Columbus janitors⁠—who clean offices of major corporations like Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Huntington Bancshares, American Electric Power (AEP) and JP Morgan Chase⁠—even work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.

A strong new contract would help guarantee that Columbus janitors can better support their families and communities. While the fight starts with Columbus janitors, it will not stop until all working people across the city, including security officers and other underpaid workers, are sharing in and experiencing the real benefits from the city’s resurgence.

Janitors and their community and labor allies, including from the Columbus Education Association among other organizations, are fighting for “One Columbus.” Because it’s time Columbus worked for all of us—whether Black, white or brown—and not just a certain wealthy few.

 

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SEIU Local 1 Applauds Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ Clean Energy Executive Order

The janitors, custodians, airport workers, security officers and other working people of Local 1 are encouraged by Wisconsin’s bold action on climate change

MILWAUKEE – The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff regarding Governor Tony Evers’ executive order putting the state on the path toward 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.

“SEIU Local 1 applauds Governor Tony Evers’ executive order to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity in the state by 2050. This clean energy executive order is a pivotal step toward climate justice.

“When it comes to combating climate change, Local 1 members know there is no time to delay, because no matter our background or where we come from, all working families want healthy communities in which they can thrive. The janitors, security officers and other working people of Local 1 fight for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice because all of them are directly connected.

“Local 1 members live in frontline communities disproportionately impacted by the threats and harms of climate change, environmental injustices and income inequality.

They are encouraged by the clean energy developments in Wisconsin and will continue fighting to reduce carbon emissions, switch to renewable energies, create good union jobs and provide a just transition for workers and communities impacted by the decline of fossil fuels.”

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Unions Build the Working Class – Lets Support Them and Their Fight

The following letter appeared in the Michigan Chronicle on July 31, 2019.

 

By Sen. Adam Hollier

Six years later, more people have begun to galvanize around a $15 minimum wage as well, but we sometimes forget the people pushing, organizing and sustaining that early movement were unions and workers who know the value of union representation.

Earlier this month — thanks to the work of SEIU Local 1 — janitors and security officers in downtown Detroit were able to successfully negotiate a $15 minimum wage.

Among them was Dolores, a 12-year veteran security officers born and raised in Detroit who is raising her 4-year-old granddaughter and living in subsidized housing. She has worked more than one job all her adult life and is still working part-time hours between two companies. She’s one of the SecurAmerica officers who went on strike, and, after months of being ignored by management, their action earned them a $15-an-hour minimum wage on July 5.

This week, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris was in town and listened as Mattie Hunter, another security officers, told her story, demanding a voice in her workplace. Thanks to SEIU Local 1 a US Senator, and presidential candidate acknowledged her leadership, echoed her words and showed her respect and dignity. Sen Harris was clear and on target saying “Unions built the middle class, and we must hold corporations like Bedrock accountable to give every worker a voice and fair treatment.”

The fact of the matter is this: Every worker in Detroit and across Michigan deserves to have a workplace that is safe. Unions have led to safer worksites. Every worker deserves fair and true living wages. Unions fight for fair wages for a day’s work. And, for generations, thousands upon thousands of workers in this state – union and non-union – enjoyed employer-paid benefits, better-paying jobs, weekends and more because leaders and unions supported the rise of a middle class.

Unfortunately, that has already started to erode under a Republican-led legislature and the previous administration.

The GOP has spent the last eight years gutting citizen-led referendums intended to support all Michigan workers and making back-door deals to bust up workers’ rights with the so-called “right to work” law.

When the debate about this nation’s and state’s future comes to Michigan next week, let’s let everyone know: It’s not too late to get back to the playbook that built the middle class, and that time is now. BB Workers should be allowed to organize, and everyone deserves a fair, livable wage for a day’s work. A $15 minimum wage is one important part of the equation.

We can do better when we work in solidarity.

Sen. Adam Hollier (D–Detroit) represents citizens of the 2nd District in Wayne County that includes the cities of Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Woods, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and Highland Park, and the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores.

 

 

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Downtown Detroit Security Officers, Joined By Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, Call On Bedrock to Create Good Union Jobs

DETROIT – On Wednesday, July 24, downtown Detroit security officers, joined by United States Senator and 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, continued to fight for the union rights, affordable healthcare and more they need to support their families and strengthen Detroit’s neighborhoods that have been left behind amid downtown’s resurgence. The security officers were also joined by SEIU Local 1 janitors and Detroit-area elected leaders including Councilwoman Janeé Ayers and Wayne County Commissioner Alisha Bell.

“Companies like Bedrock have a responsibility to create good jobs in Detroit where workers have a voice in the workplace,” said SecurAmerica Security Officer Mattie Hunter, who secures the First National building. “We need union rights, with benefits such as affordable, quality healthcare to protect ourselves and create a better life for our families.”

“I have fought with organized labor throughout my career and I’m proud to stand in solidarity with the security officers here today fighting for their right to unionize and bargain for the protections and benefits they deserve,” said Senator Kamala Harris. “Unions built the middle class, and we must hold corporations accountable to give every worker a voice and fair treatment.”

SecurAmerica security officers protect downtown Detroit’s Bedrock properties such as One Campus Martius, One Woodward and First National and are the first responders in many dangerous situations, playing a key role in Detroit’s comeback. At the same time, without a voice on the job or quality, affordable healthcare, these same officers are struggling to enjoy the city’s redevelopment, often relying on public assistance to make ends meet and lacking the equipment and training that they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

Senator Harris, SEIU Local 1 janitors, elected leaders and other labor allies gathered at Hart Plaza to support security officers in the One Detroit fight. They called on SecurAmerica and local officials to allow these security officers a fast and fair process to come together in the workplace without interference. Together, they’re continuing the fight for One Detroit, a city in which all working people can thrive and provide a better life for their families.

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Chicago Airport Workers Celebrate Ratification of Historic First Union Contracts with a Path to $15 and Better Benefits

CHICAGO – SEIU Local 1 Chicago airport workers were joined by Alds. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Gilbert Villegas (36th) at City Hall on Wednesday morning to celebrate a historic victory in their yearslong fight for $15 and union rights at Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports: ratification of their first-ever union contracts with airport contractors Prospect Airport Services and Scrub, Inc.

The respective three-year contracts with Prospect and Scrub cover a total of 2,200 contracted Chicago airport workers, including wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners, baggage handlers, security officers, cargo agents and others.

The union contracts with Prospect and Scrub include a path to at least $15 and better benefits, including more affordable healthcare, discipline and seniority protections, a grievance procedure, overtime, paid holidays and vacation days and other benefits.

“This is the power of working people coming together for the good, union jobs our families and communities need to thrive,” said Oliwia Pac, a Prospect wheelchair attendant and security agent at O’Hare, who has been a longtime leader in the fight for union rights at the airport. “We’re improving the lives of thousands of working people at our airports, and we’re making our airports, communities and our entire city stronger.”

The historic contract ratifications come after passage of the September 2017 SEIU Local 1-backed airport ordinance, co-sponsored by Alds. Sawyer, Waguespack and Villegas, among others, that raised the base wage at Chicago’s airports to $13.80 and made it easier for airport workers to organize their union. Prospect and Scrub workers officially won their union with SEIU Local 1 in late 2018.

With two major contracts under their belts, Chicago airport workers, who have been fighting to raise standards at our airports for working people and passengers alike for more than four years, will now turn their fight for $15 and a union to other segments of contracted workers, including the cabin cleaners, customer service agents, baggage handlers, ramp agents and warehouse agents employed by Total Airport Services, Inc.

“We won’t rest until all working people at O’Hare and Midway Airports have the good jobs their families need to thrive,” said Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “Other contracted airport workers are ready to take the baton from Prospect and Scrub workers and launch their own fight for their union. Together, we will fight to ensure Chicago’s airports continue to be strong economic engines for our city.”

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National Support for Striking Downtown Detroit SecurAmerica Security Officers Continues to Grow with Backing from 2020 Presidential Candidates  

National Support for Striking Downtown Detroit SecurAmerica Security Officers Continues to Grow with Backing from 2020 Presidential Candidates  

 

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

https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1139360810738704384

 

“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)

https://twitter.com/CoryBooker/status/1139308182306787328

 

“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)

https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1139283821235462144

 

“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)

https://twitter.com/KamalaHarris/status/1139272501241024518

 

“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)

https://twitter.com/ericswalwell/status/1139246249088114688

 

“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)

https://twitter.com/TimRyan/status/1139186231403827204

 

“Detroit security officers have a right to form a union. I stand with them. #OneDetroit #StandforSecurity” – Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT)

https://twitter.com/GovernorBullock/status/1139325326960427008

 

 

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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.

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Congratulations 2019 Scholarship Recipients!

Every year, Local 1 awards college scholarships  across the Midwest to members and their children because no matter our background, we all want a better future for our families. Congratulations to all of our scholarship winners!

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SEIU Local 1 Endorses Green New Deal

SEIU Local 1 Endorses Green New Deal

The janitors, custodians, airport workers, security officers and other working people of Local 1 urge elected leaders to take swift, bold action on climate change


CHICAGO – The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff regarding SEIU Local 1’s endorsement of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) Green New Deal resolution:

“I’m happy to announce that SEIU Local 1 has endorsed the Green New Deal. Local 1 members are serious about taking decisive action to address the imminent danger of climate change, because no matter our background or where we come from, all working families want healthy communities in which they can thrive.

“As a union representing more than 50,000 working people, a majority of whom are women, immigrants and people of color, in 11 cities across the Midwest, we are committed to the fight for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice.

“Local 1 members live in frontline communities disproportionately impacted by the threats and harms of climate change, environmental injustices and income inequality. That is why Local 1 urges our elected leaders to not delay in taking bold action to reduce carbon emissions, switch to renewable energies, create good union jobs and provide a just transition for workers and communities impacted by the decline of fossil fuels.”

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500 Downtown Cleveland Janitors Win Historic New Contract!

As Janitors Come Together For ‘One Cleveland’… 

500 Downtown Cleveland Janitors Win Historic New Contract With 25% Wage Hike, Which Will Pump $7.5 Million Into Cleveland’s Working-Class Neighborhoods

CLEVELAND – By a unanimous vote, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 janitors who clean Cleveland’s downtown buildings ratified a historic new union contract this afternoon as part of their campaign for “One Cleveland,” a city in which all working people—white, Black and brown—can benefit from downtown’s resurgence.

Under the five-year contract agreement, which covers 500 janitors, wages will increase up to 25%, with the average hourly wage reaching $15 by 2023, and janitors will receive fully funded healthcare from their employer. The wage hike, four times higher than what janitors won in their previous contract, translates into an extra $13,104 to $16,744 for downtown janitors over the life of the agreement.

“Our janitor-led ‘One Cleveland’ campaign has proved to be a historic success, and I’m so proud of how we came together to win a better future for our city,” said Brian Yarbrough, a Local 1 janitor at the Fifth Third Center who negotiated the new contract alongside his co-workers. “The wages and benefits we won will provide a game-changing boost for our families and Cleveland’s most neglected communities. While Cleveland janitors have won a major victory, we won’t stop until all Ohio janitors earn at least $15 and can fully support their families.”

The contract victory comes on the heels of similar contracts won in recent weeks by Cleveland janitors at the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), the Cleveland Orchestra and the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill. These four contracts are worth $11 million and cover 700 total Local 1 Cleveland janitors, who joined together across different backgrounds to fight for $15 and build One Cleveland.

As part of their One Cleveland campaign, janitors fought for a $15 wage and improved workplace standards as a way to ensure all Clevelanders benefit from the city’s booming redevelopment.

In the coming months, more Local 1 janitors in Cleveland as well as Akron, Columbus and Cincinnati will launch their fight for strong new contracts and the good raises they need to lift their cities for everyone. Overall, 1,650 Local 1 janitors across Ohio will negotiate new contracts by the end of 2019.

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Cleveland Janitors at ArcelorMittal Steel Mill Ratify Strong New Contract With a Path to $15/Hr!

As the Janitorial Campaign for $15 and ‘One Cleveland’ Continues to Gain Momentum…

Cleveland Janitors at ArcelorMittal Steel Mill Ratify Strong New Contract With a Path to $15/Hr; Contract to Pump $1.5 million into Cleveland’s Most Neglected Neighborhoods

Next Up: 500 Downtown Cleveland Janitors Set to Fight for $15

CLEVELAND – By an overwhelming margin, 50 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 janitors at the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill ratified a strong new union contract this afternoon. Under the agreement, janitors will see a 60% wage increase over the five-year contract, with every worker on a path to $15 by 2023.

The agreement comes on the heels of similar contracts won in recent weeks by janitors at the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) and the Cleveland Orchestra.

“This contract showed us how much we can accomplish when we stand together for better wages and benefits,” said Rodney Shelton, a Local 1 janitor at the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill who negotiated the contract with his co-workers. “While we won our path to $15, the fight for One Cleveland continues with hundreds of our brothers and sisters who are fighting for their contract downtown.”

“We want to congratulate the Steel Mill janitors on their huge victory because their fight is our fight, and when working families do better, we all do better and win,” said Geraldine Brown, who works at the 55 Public Square building and is covered under the next janitorial union contract up for negotiations in Cleveland. “It is time for One Cleveland where everyone can benefit from good union jobs with at least a $15 wage, and we look forward to seeing that in our contract.”

Local 1 janitors at the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill, Tri-C and the Cleveland Orchestra are among 1,650 Local 1 janitors throughout Cleveland and the surrounding area who are coming together across different backgrounds this year to win new contracts and good jobs that will benefit their communities. Janitors hope the steel mill, Tri-C and orchestra wins will set the tone for upcoming union negotiations.

With three major contract victories under their belts, Local 1 Cleveland janitors now embark on their next fight: winning a strong contract with a path to $15 for 500 additional janitors who clean Cleveland’s downtown buildings .

Through their “One Cleveland” campaign, janitors are fighting for a $15 wage along with raising standards in the janitorial industry as a way to ensure all Clevelanders—whether white, Black, or brown—benefit from the city’s booming redevelopment. The city’s comeback is made possible with millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and all Clevelanders should benefit from the renaissance.

The ArcelorMittal Steel Mill agreement will pump $1.5 million into Cleveland’s most neglected neighborhoods. In addition, the janitors’ five-year union contract improves benefits such as holidays and strengthens their pension and healthcare funds.

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