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.

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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Cleveland Janitors Rally for $15, Shine Light on Stark Contrast Between Downtown and Their Communities

Joined by Hundreds of Supporters From Across the Country…

Cleveland Janitors Rally for $15 Under the Playhouse Square Chandelier, Shine Light on Stark Contrast Between Downtown and Their Communities

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.

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SEIU Illinois State Council Cheers Toni Preckwinkle’s Plan to Push for $15 Minimum Wage in Chicago by 2021

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.”

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SEIU Local 1 Endorses Ameya Pawar for Chicago City Treasurer

Major progressive union representing 50,000  janitors, security officers, residential doorstaff and more makes endorsement in City Treasurer race

CHICAGO – At the forefront of the fight for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice, SEIU Local 1 announced its endorsement of Alderman Ameya Pawar for Chicago City Treasurer. 

“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.

 

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SEIU Local 1 Celebrates Tony Evers’ Gubernatorial Victory

Evers is a progressive champion who will fight for Wisconsin’s working families 

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.”

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