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 Terry Eddy Responds to Sherwin-Williams

CLEVELAND –  The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 janitor Terry Eddy in response to news that Sherwin-Williams plans to keep its headquarters in Cleveland. Terry, after 16 years on the job lost her only source of income when Sherwin-Williams Co. shamelessly decided to change to a non-union contractor:

“After their decision to change contractors hurt janitors like me, Sherwin-Williams announced its plan to keep its headquarters in Cleveland, as if that would bring our financial stability back. Losing our jobs at the headquarters, jeopardized our livelihoods and our ability to put food on the table.

“The Fortune 500 company claims to welcome the participation of union labor in the construction of their new facilities, yet they left hardworking janitors and our families in the cold just last month, ripping away the good wages and benefits we had won with our union.

“Sherwin-Williams cannot claim to be a community leader while leaving behind working families and our neighborhoods, especially while receiving millions of dollars in taxpayer funded subsidies. If Sherwin-Williams wants to be a responsible corporate citizen in Cleveland, they must ensure that hardworking janitors are able to support their families with dignity and a voice on the job.”

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SEIU Local 1 Janitors Urge Sherwin-Williams to Choose Cleveland’s Working Families Over Profit

 

CLEVELAND – Supported by representatives of the North Shore Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 1 janitors and community allies held a press conference Thursday morning outside Sherwin-Williams’ Headquarters in an effort to save their long term jobs. They are urging Sherwin-Williams to uphold their commitment of being a community pillar to all the hardworking families in Cleveland.

“Cleaning Sherwin-Williams has allowed me to take care of my 32-year-old daughter who suffers a mental disability and the company’s action puts me in a financial crisis, making it more difficult for me to pay my bills on time, pay rent and make ends meet.” said Local 1 Janitor, Terry Eddy, “I am heartbroken that after many years, our hardwork is being ripped away from us.”

While Sherwin-Williams is worth billions of dollars, the janitors who clean its headquarters and are directly employed by a union janitorial contractor have kept this company clean for combined decades. Sherwin-Williams is set to terminate their jobs at the end of the month.  The company has the resources, power and responsibility to empower its janitors and create a positive and uplifting change to its Cleveland Community, where it is headquartered.

“Sherwin-Williams is about to have a new transformation, and we are simply asking the company to not leave the janitors behind.” said Dan O’Malley, North Shore Federation of Labor AFL-CIO representative. “Sherwin-Williams has millions of dollars, and we just want to make sure the janitors that clean its headquarters continue to have dignity on the job.”

Janitors are working together, alongside labor and community leaders in order to save their jobs at Sherwin-Williams, a company that has been a leader for more than a century. Sherwin-Williams has been Cleveland’s economy pillar for years and it can continue to be so, by doing what’s right for hardworking Clevelanders. Together SEIU Local 1 janitors are fighting for “One Cleveland” — a city that works for all of us—whether white, Black or brown—and not just a certain wealthy few.

 

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SEIU Local 1 Janitors, Currently Fighting for Higher Wages in New Contract, Celebrate $15 Wage for St. Louis Civil Service Workers

Mayor’s action sends yet another strong signal to business community; it’s time for a $15 wage for all working families

ST. LOUIS – Local 1 janitor Michelle McNeal, who cleans 1010 Market in downtown St. Louis, responded to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s executive order #65, which set a $15 minimum wage for City civil service employees. Michelle is one of the 2,100 janitors who clean buildings across the City and County currently fighting for a strong a new contract and One St. Louis – a city where every working family can make ends meet with at least $15 and good union jobs.

“Working people have been leading the fight for the $15 wage we need to put food on the table for our families and make our communities more equitable across racial lines. Late last year, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to support a $15 wage for St. Louis janitors, and today the mayor took action to do the same for City civil service workers.

“Treasurer Tishaura Jones’ office, Washington University in St. Louis, BJC Healthcare and now the City of St. Louis put working people on a path to $15. Mayor Krewson’s action sends a strong message to business and civic leaders – $15 is possible in St. Louis.

“Janitors who clean prominent buildings like US Bank, Wells Fargo and Met Square are tired of struggling to support our families and neighborhoods on low wages. We hope they take note of the mayor’s actions today.”

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Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest, including more than 5,000 commercial janitors, higher education faculty, food service workers, state workers in the Division of Probation and Parole, school custodians, patient care professionals, and more in Missouri. 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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Why This Kates Security Officer Is Fighting For A Union at CHA

For Felicia Agbalaya being a security officer with Kates is more than just keeping people safe. “You’re helping, being a counselor,” she says. “I see it as a customer service job.”

Felicia takes her job seriously and cares deeply about the Chicago Housing Authority residents she’s responsible to protect. But that’s not something she can say about Kates. “They don’t do proper training like they should,” Felicia states. “They never trained us on the camera. We watch monitors, but don’t know how to go back, how to rewatch.”

Not only is Kates’ lack of training harmful to the residents, but the company has a pattern of disrespect towards its employees. When Felicia’s husband passed away Kates never offered her any time off. “They don’t care. That’s more hurtful than the low wages,” Felicia says. Earning only $13 an hour makes it difficult for Felicia to take care of her two teenagers, to the point where she had to get a second job to make ends meet. With unaffordable healthcare and low wages, Kates’ working conditions are less than ideal. It’s why Felicia is fighting for a union for herself and her colleagues.

“It would be wonderful. Having the union will help us give us workers some security. Coming together in a union means the company will have people to answer to,” she says. “I’m a very passionate person. I fight for what I believe in.”

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SEIU Illinois State Council Endorses Progressive Candidate Marie Newman for Congress

CHICAGO – Today, the SEIU Illinois State Council announced its endorsement of Marie Newman in the state’s March 17 Democratic primary. Newman is running to defeat longtime incumbent Congressman Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. The SEIU Illinois State Council represents 150,000 janitors, security officers, healthcare and homecare workers, public sector employees and more across Illinois, with more than 11,000 members living in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

Newman is running a progressive campaign where all working families can feel represented, no matter their background or where they come from. She is fighting for at least a $15 hourly minimum wage for all working families in her district, green jobs for the revival of local businesses and healthcare for every working family. While wealthy special interests and certain politicians try to divide working people against each other, Newman also advocates for immigrant rights to make sure no one is left in the shadows.

“Marie Newman is the progressive leader the 3rd District needs in Congress.” said SEIU Illinois State Council President Tom Balanoff. “Marie supports a path to at least $15 an hour so that every working family can make ends meet with good union jobs. She will fight to expand healthcare for all working families, protect hard-won reproductive freedoms and keep immigrant families together.”

 “I am running for Congress because our community in Illinois 3rd District deserves a fighter in Washington who will work tirelessly, every day, to improve the lives of working families,” said Marie Newman. “I am honored to have the support of SEIU and to have the privilege of working with their over 10,000 members in Illinois 3rd District to fight for a livable wage, healthcare for all, universal childcare, and an economy that works for everyone.”

 “Marie Newman knows that too many families in the 3rd congressional district are living paycheck to paycheck and that legislators must stand up for living wage issues and worker benefits so that more of our communities can reflect growth rather than decline. She is in tune with the need for affordable healthcare and decreasing the burden on working families by making the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes. Her vision for the 3rd congressional district is forward-looking that delivers funding and services rather than feeding into the divisive tone coming out of Washington today. We support Marie Newman because she will be a voice for working families who struggle to meet their everyday needs,” said SEIU State Council Vice President Greg Kelley.

 “Marie Newman is a progressive champion that the 3rd District working families need in Congress. SEIU Local 73 members support Newman because she presents a bold, positive vision representative of SEIU members views on strengthening the labor movement and the working class. We look forward to her victory and working closely with her to make positive change happen,” said Joseph Richert, SEIU Local 73 Secretary-Treasurer.  

 

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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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St. Louis Board of Aldermen Passes Resolution in Support of $15 Wage for 2,100 SEIU Local 1 Janitors

ST. LOUIS – Today, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen overwhelmingly passed a resolution in support of a $15 wage for 2,100 SEIU Local 1 janitors who clean notable buildings like Wells Fargo, US Bank and Metropolitan Square. The passage comes after a rally where SEIU Local 1 janitors, joined by Ald. Sharon Tyus (1), Ald. Christine Ingrassia (6), Ald. Sarah Martin (11), Ald. Bret Narayan (24) and Representative-elect Rasheen Aldridge, brought their fight for One St. Louis – at least $15 and good union jobs for all – to City Hall. Janitors, carrying their brooms and mops, unveiled the One St. Louis Arch, highlighting how at least $15 and good union jobs for all would help working people build safer neighborhoods and stronger families while making our region more equitable across racial lines.

“We work hard cleaning the most expensive buildings in St. Louis, but janitors are struggling to make ends meet. That’s not right,” said SEIU Local 1 janitor Stephanie Patterson, who cleans the Wells Fargo Building for $10 an hour. “We need at least $15 to raise our families, and we’re happy to have the City’s support in our fight for a strong new contract and One St. Louis, a region that works for all.”

Following the event, the Board of Aldermen passed a resolution supporting janitors as they negotiate for a $15 wage. Janitors returned to the bargaining table again this afternoon.

“Today, the Board of Aldermen sent a strong message to the business community that elected leaders support janitors as they come together for the $15 they need to put food on the table,” said Alderwoman Sharon Tyus. “Washington University, BJC HealthCare and more are already putting workers on a path to $15 – it’s time others do the same.”

On October 23, janitors rallied outside the Old Courthouse to kick off the fight for One St. Louis, a region where all working families can support themselves with at least a $15 wage and good union jobs. The fight is in line with the Ferguson Commission’s recommendations to enact a $15 wage to give working people the opportunity to thrive. Five years after the protests, janitors are still coming together for the transformative change their communities need.

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SEIU Local 1 Cincinnati Janitors Win Historic Contract Contributing $5.3 Million to the Local Economy

CINCINNATI – After a vigorous janitor-led campaign, SEIU Local 1 has ratified their tentative agreement with higher wages, more paid time off and a voice on the job. SEIU Local 1 Janitors led One Cincinnati — a campaign for a city in which all working people can prosper. Janitors with the support of Cincinnati Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld and multiple allies rallied through the streets of Cincinnati, lobbied City Hall resulting in a successful resolution in support for a strong new contract.

Their new four year contract guarantees:
Annual wage increases which will help janitors provide for their families
Paid Time Off gains to ensure janitors are well compensated for their hard labor
Additional Vacation and Holidays allowing janitors to spend time in their community and contribute to the local economy

With this historic win and significant wage increases, more than 600 SEIU Local 1 Janitors will have the opportunity to be a part of the city’s resurgence, save money, and provide for their families without having to choose between buying groceries or paying their bills. This win will also impact the development of the communities janitors live in, and will let them contribute back to the city.

Local 1 Janitors have witnessed that their perseverance and efforts will make a huge change to the local economy contributing $5.3 million over the life of the contract but the fight for One Cincinnati does not stop here. We will not stop fighting for One Cincinnati until all working families across the city have good union jobs with a path to at least $15 and are able to take part in the city’s resurgence.

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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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Cincinnati City Council Recognizes The Hard Work of SEIU Local 1 Janitors in their Fight for Higher Wages and One Cincinnati with Good Jobs for All

CINCINNATI – Today, the Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution in support of janitors across the city — many of whom work in major office buildings downtown in their fight for a path to $15 hourly wage and better benefits through a strong, new union contract. The resolution sends a clear message to major contractors that Cincinnati elected leaders stand with Local 1 Janitors in their fight for One Cincinnati with higher wages and benefits for all working families.

“With this Resolution, City Council is making it clear – and official – that we support and stand with SEIU Janitors” said Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld, who sponsored the resolution. “Our Janitors help take care of the city, and we need to take care of them.”

Last week, Cincinnati Janitors, supporters and allies, who the Council honors in its resolution, spoke out and rallied to win a stronger union contract that will cover more than 600 Janitors in Cincinnati — helping janitors get on a path to $15 with better benefits. As many janitors can’t make ends meet, they continue to fight for a path that will lift them out of poverty and be a part of Cincinnati’s resurgence.

“Together, we have the power to speak out against injustice, as we fight for higher wages, better benefits and unions for all!” said Cincinnati janitor David Dean, currently working for Atrium Two office building. SEIU Local 1 Janitors are fighting to build One Cincinnati, a city in which all working people can prosper and all working families have a path out of poverty and can make at least $15 an hour.

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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 fig

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SEIU Local 1 Janitors Launched Inspiring ‘One Cincinnati’ Campaign to Fight for Financial Prosperity and Dignity on the Job

Joined by Cincinnati Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld and Dozens of Labor and Community Allies from across Ohio…

SEIU Local 1 Janitors Launched Inspiring ‘One Cincinnati’ Campaign to Fight for Financial Prosperity and Dignity on the Job

Janitors kicked off campaign to secure path to $15 hourly wage and union rights for all working families in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI – SEIU Local 1 janitors and allies rallied Tuesday morning at the Fountain Square to launch their fight for a strong new contract with a path to $15 and better benefits. SEIU Local 1 janitors across the state of Ohio, were joined by Cincinnati Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld and numerous allies to end financial inequality working families in Cincinnati face every day. 

“It’s unfair that the buildings I clean everyday make billions of dollars, yet they refuse to raise the wages of our hard work” said Cincinnati janitor David Dean, currently working for Atrium Two office building.  “Together, we have the power to speak out against injustice, as we fight for higher wages, better benefits and unions for all! That’s why we’re fighting for a strong new contract and a brighter Cincinnati for all—whether you are Black, white or brown.”

While downtown Cincinnati is booming with new development worth billions of dollars, over 600 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 $11.05. That equals an annual salary of about $22,984, which qualifies a full-time janitor for public assistance for housing, food and healthcare. 

As some of the big companies in town have raised the wages for their own employees, that’s great, we sincerely applaud that — but we also say, don’t leave the janitors behind. They’re right there in the same building, working hard, and the attitude needs to be that we’re all on the same team.” said Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld

Unfortunately, it has started to become the norm, janitors⁠—who clean offices of major corporations such as Fifth Third Bank, Kroger, Macy’s, Huntington Bancshares, and PNC as well as some public facilities such as Mercy Health, multiple Hamilton County agencies,  and public libraries in Cincinnatieven work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.  

Janitors have witnessed other major wins for SEIU Local 1  members, and they are confident they will win. The fight for One Cincinnati will not stop until all working people across the city, including janitors, security officers and other underpaid workers are on a path to $15 and be a part of the real benefits from the city’s resurgence. 

Janitors and their community received the support from labor and community allies, including P.G. Sittenfeld, Cincinnati DSA, Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center, David McDonald, among others. Together we are fighting for “One Cincinnati” — a city that works for all of uswhether Black, white or brownand not just a certain wealthy few.

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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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750 Columbus Janitors Win a Historic New Contract With Better Benefits and A Total New Income of $ 4.8 Million into the Local Economy

COLUMBUS – Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 janitors who clean Columbus’ downtown buildings like those of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Huntington Bancshares, American Electric Power, and JP Morgan Chase ratified a historic new union contract as part of their campaign for “One Columbus,” a city in which all working people—white, Black, and brown—can enjoy the benefits of downtown’s growth.

Under the three-year agreement covering 750 janitors, wages will increase on average by more than 13%, putting an additional $6,300.00  into the pockets of janitors over the life of the contract to help them support their families. In addition, janitors will receive a third week of vacation and additional benefits.

“With this contract, I will have a little something left over for myself and have a liveable income,” said Local 1 Janitor, Cristal Sylla. “Janitors stood together at the bargaining table, and we won the good raises we need.”

The victory comes after Local 1 Columbus janitors rallied downtown with community and elected allies to demand better work conditions and higher wages. As part of their One Columbus campaign, janitors fought for a pay increase and improved workplace standards as a way to ensure all Columbus residents and neighborhoods benefit from the city’s booming economic growth.

Yet their fight doesn’t end in Columbus. 600 Local 1 janitors in Cincinnati will soon kick off their own fight for a strong, new contract with a path to $15 and better benefits to ensure working families across the city can support themselves and strengthen their communities.

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