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 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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SEIU Local 1 Celebrates Gretchen Whitmer’s Gubernatorial Victory

SEIU Local 1 Celebrates Gretchen Whitmer’s Gubernatorial Victory

Whitmer is a progressive champion who will fight for Michigan’s working families

DETROIT – The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 Little Caesars Arena janitor Kris Sherman-Burns regarding Gretchen Whitmer’s gubernatorial victory in Michigan. Local 1 members sent more than 3,000 texts and knocked 10,000 doors in coordination with the One Michigan Campaign:

“SEIU Local 1 members are proud to support and congratulate Gretchen Whitmer on being elected the next governor of Michigan.

“Ahead of the election, Local 1 members reached out to thousands of voters to let them know governor-elect Whitmer supports a $15 living wage and unions for all working families. Clearly, that message resonated across Michigan.

“We look forward to working alongside governor-elect Whitmer in our fight for One Detroit, in which the interests of working people, whether white, Black, or brown, are put first.”

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SEIU Local 1 Congratulates Governor-Elect JB Pritzker on His Victory

SEIU Local 1 Congratulates Governor-Elect JB Pritzker on His Victory 

SEIU Local 1 members look forward to working with Pritzker on union expansion and $15 statewide minimum wage

CHICAGO – The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff regarding governor-elect JB Pritzker’s victory over incumbent governor Bruce Rauner. SEIU Local 1 members reached more than 50,000 voters ahead of the election:

“Illinois working families turned out across different backgrounds and racial lines to to elect JB Pritzker our next governor and reject Bruce Rauner’s record of utter failure.”

“Instead of moving Illinois in a positive direction, Rauner made working people the scapegoat for our state’s problems. JB has the opportunity to right the wrongs of his predecessor by focusing on addressing the issues that matter to the working families of our state.

“SEIU Local 1 janitors security officers, doorstaff and more look forward to working with JB to implement progressive goals, like a $15 minimum wage and a fair tax, to make our state a better place for all.”

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SEIU Local 1 Cheers Sherrod Brown’s Re-Election

SEIU Local 1 Cheers Sherrod Brown’s Re-Election
Sherrod is a steadfast leader in Congress for Ohio’s working families

CLEVELAND – SEIU Local 1 Executive Board Member and janitor Sandra Ellington, who works at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, released the following statement in response to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) re-election victory:

“SEIU janitors in Ohio called and texted more than 2,200 people and knocked 2,100 doors in support of Sherrod Brown, and we enthusiastically congratulate him on his re-election.

“Sherrod is the steadfast progressive champion working people—whether white, Black or brown—can count on in Congress to fight for all Americans and against the Trump Administration’s dangerous attacks on workers, women, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and the environment.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with him in the fight for justice on many fronts.”

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Lawsuit Filed Challenging Senate Bill 1007

A coalition of labor unions representing Missouri state workers filed a lawsuit today challenging the recently passed Senate Bill 1007, which sought, among other things, to strip public service workers of collectively bargained protections on the job. The lawsuit was filed with the Cole County Circuit Court by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 61, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, and Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 6355. 

“Former Governor Greitens may have thought he could throw away the hard-won rights of dedicated public service workers on his way out the door,” said AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan. “But the Missouri constitution says otherwise. We are fighting this unjust and illegal attack on the rights of our members every step of the way, and we are confident that justice will prevail.”

SB 1007 infringes upon Missouri state workers’ collective bargaining rights, which Missourians have enshrined in their constitution’s Bill of Rights. The right to bargain over protections from arbitrary and discriminatory termination and discipline, and to commit to agreements containing these protections, is central to these protected collective bargaining rights, as is the right to file grievances and be heard when these rights are violated. The legislature can no more eliminate these rights as it can other rights enshrined in our constitution, like the freedom of speech.

“SB 1007 hurts thousands of Missouri working families as well as all those who rely on state services,” said SEIU Local 1 Vice President Nancy Cross. “SEIU Local 1 members are coming together to reverse this unconstitutional attack by wealthy special interests on the rights of the working people of our state.”

“SB 1007 is an attack on our fundamental rights as workers to organize and our ability to collectively bargain. Unions of public workers have the infrastructure to protect workers from unjust actions in the workplace and fight for the crucial services that members of our communities need to survive,” said CWA Local 6355 President Natashia Pickens. “We fight for the workers and the state is trying to alienate workers and crush the very organizations with the ability to help workers have a voice on the job. CWA 6355 members are not just going to stand by and let them diminish the rights of workers and the families we serve.”

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Gretchen Whitmer to Mark Labor Day by Meeting Detroit-Area Service Workers Calling for $15, Union Rights for All

Democratic Gov. Candidate to Address Service Workers Fighting for Unions on the Job Following Eight Years of Attacks by Michigan GOP

DETROIT – Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer will mark Labor Day Monday by meeting with caregivers who are among the 45,000 home care workers and 35,000 child care workers stripped of their union rights by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2012.

In addition to meeting with Detroit-area caregivers, Whitmer will speak with local residents who work in fast-food, healthcare, airports and other service industries who are calling on the next governor to do whatever it takes to grow unions in Michigan and make it easier for workers to come together on the job.

Who: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Detroit-area service workers in home care, child care, janitorial, fast food, airports and other industries

WhereLafayette Park, 1500 E Lafayette between Rivard and Orleans

When: 12:30p ET


Stronger unions and higher wages are emerging as top issues for Michigan voters ahead of the election this November.

After vowing to strike, roughly 1,700 janitors who clean buildings in some of the most prominent downtown Detroit buildings won a path to a $15 an hour wage floor in July through their new union contract. Many Detroit janitors were previously paid just $9.45 an hour.

In June, hundreds of workers in the Fight for $15 from the Detroit metro area organized a town hallwith Michigan’s entire Democratic delegation to the U.S. House urging lawmakers to make it easier for working people to join together in unions in order to raise wages and create thriving communities.

The town hall followed a forum in April where hundreds of fast-food workers, janitors, healthcare workers and state and county employees pressed all four leading Democratic Michigan gubernatorial candidates on how they would grow unions in the state and raise wages if elected in November. The April candidate forum marked the culmination of a four-week blitz where Gretchen Whitmer, Shri Thanedar and Abdul El-Sayed spent a day shadowing union and nonunion workers in service jobs across the state.

In January, as Snyder delivered his annual State of the State address, hundreds of janitors, hospital workers and fast-food cooks protested outside his office in Detroit delivering a “Workers’ State of the State” decrying the governor’s record of blocking minimum wage increases and gutting union rights. In February, a mass of workers drowned out Snyder’s annual budget speech at the state capitol as they outlined how the governor’s policies and the economic revitalization he is touting have failed working people throughout the state.

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Chicago Window Washers Win Historic Raise

In July, Local 1 Chicago window washers hit the street on strike! Marching on City Hall, disrupting traffic and even dressing up as superheroes to bring attention to the low wages they earned. Despite the dangerous work they do every day, too many window washers were struggling to support their families and many were forced to rely on public assistance for healthcare.

ABC 7: Window washers dressed as superheroes protest as strike continues

But by sticking together, they won a historic new contract. The agreement guarantees annual raises, brings window washers to a $26 base wage over the life of the five-year contract—representing a historic 27 percent wage hike—and doubles their life insurance from $50,000 to $100,000.

“We put our livelihood on the line and won the biggest wage increase for Chicago window washers in Local 1 history,” said window washer Cruz Guzman. “Higher wages and a better life insurance policy will safeguard my family and help us build a brighter future.”

Chicago Tribune: Striking window washers ratify new contract, win wage increase to $26 hourly over the life of the deal

Chicago window washers, whose contract expired June 30, had been on an industry-wide strike since July 2 fighting for fair compensation for their treacherous work. By coming together and staying strong, they were able to win a better future for themselves and their families.

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Working People Win In Missouri!

On August 7, the working families of SEIU Local 1 in Missouri came together and won a major victory for their communities by defeating Proposition A. Laws like Prop A, pushed by wealthy special interests, lower wages and hurting working people. But Local 1 members came together to show that wealthy special interests cannot divide us – white, Black or brown – against each other.

Local 1 janitor Sandy Hinson talks to the Guardian about why she was working to defeat Prop A

By joining with community allies and other labor organizations, Local 1 members showed Jefferson City politicians that working people will fight back against their anti-worker, low-wage agenda and win! Together, we rise for the higher wages, strong healthcare and financial security we need to make the Midwest better for all working families.

Local 1 janitor Chloe Collins speaks with the Huffington Post about why laws like Prop A would have made it harder to support her daughter

Local 1 Missouri members will take this energy into the November midterm elections to raise the minimum wage, reform our broken campaign finance system and elect leaders who will fight for working families. Anti-worker politicians and the wealthy special interests who back them are on watch!


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