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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 Cheer Passage Of City Ordinance For Union Rights, Higher Wages At O’Hare, Midway

Chicago Airport Workers Cheer Passage Of City Ordinance For Union Rights, Higher Wages At O’Hare, Midway

Measure marks huge step forward in Chicago airport workers’ fight for $15 and a union

CHICAGO – In a major win for Chicago airport workers, the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday that will soon give nearly 8,000 O’Hare and Midway airport workers a raise to $13.45 an hour and the right to join a union.

The ordinance requires labor peace agreements between O’Hare and Midway ground handling operators and labor unions representing or seeking to represent their employees.

Passage of this important ordinance, backed by SEIU Local 1 and proposed in July by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and numerous aldermen, marks a major step forward in Chicago airport workers’ fight for $15 and union rights.

A diverse coalition of community and elected leaders, including Black Caucus Chair Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Progressive Caucus Chair Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), Latino Caucus Chair Gilbert Villegas (36th), Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10th), Ald. Patrick Thompson (11th), Ald. Toni Foulkes (16th), Ald. George Cardenas (12th), Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd), Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) and Ald. John Arena (45th), stood with dozens of airport workers before today’s City Council meeting to rally behind the ordinance.

“Airport workers thank our City Council supporters for unanimously approving this ordinance,” said Oliwia Pac, who works for Prospect as a wheelchair attendant at O’Hare. “After two years of tireless organizing, protesting and striking, it feels great to be moving forward in our fight for $15 and a union.”

“The measure will help me and my coworkers build a better future for ourselves and our families,” Pac added. “In turn, our airports will see less worker turnover. That means better service and safety at our airports.”

“This ordinance is good public policy that will improve safety at our airports. It’s a win-win-win-win for airport workers, passengers, the city and the airlines,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “It’s going to start a process to make a better life for the workers here and make a safer, cleaner, more convenient airport for the passengers and help Chicago start to lift up all of our communities.”

“Labor peace is important for the value of the gates at our airports, making it important for those who operate, work in and travel through them,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer. “This ordinance is so crucial for the workers, airlines, city and passengers.”

Most airport workers, nearly half of whom are aged 40 or older, make minimum wage or less, and many depend on public assistance to afford basic necessities, including food, rent and healthcare.

Since launching their campaign two years ago for $15 and a union, Chicago airport workers—who are seeking to join SEIU Local 1—have filed wage theft and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violation complaints at the local and federal level and have gone on strike repeatedly over unfair labor practices.

Fifteen dollars and union rights for airport workers would not only boost our communities and economy, it would reduce turnover, increase quality and improve the customer experience at a time when the airlines need it most.


Around the country, airport workers are coming together in Airport Workers United, a movement of workers and their allies, raising their voices to make our airports safe and secure for passengers, employees and our communities. Last year, airport workers served an all-time high of 932 million passengers. By sticking together and speaking out, more than 110,000 airport workers across the country have won wage increases or other improvements, including healthcare, and paid sick leave. We have won wage increases in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Nearly 22,000 airport workers have won a union with SEIU.

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$13.45-an-hour wage cleared for takeoff at O’Hare, Midway airports

Oliwia Pac is in line for a $2.45-an-hour pay raise, but she feels like she won the lottery.

On Wednesday, the City Council guaranteed Pac and nearly 8,000 other contract employees at O’Hare and Midway Airports a pay floor of “no less than” $13.45-an-hour and secured their right to join unions.

“This raise means that I can finally afford my rent, get groceries, not have a hassle trying to pay off my student loans,” said Pac, who helps passengers in wheelchairs, escorts children traveling alone onto flights and works security at O’Hare Airport.

“It could be better. But this is a very big step that has occurred for us as airport workers. I’m just beyond ecstatic. We’re slowly but surely winning.”

Higher pay is not the only benefit for contract employees at O’Hare and Midway. The ordinance unanimously approved Wednesday also includes a “labor peace agreement” allowing baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, aircraft maintenance workers, security guards and other contract employees to organize without interference.

In exchange, contract employees would be prohibited from “engaging in strikes, picketing, work stoppages, boycotts or other economic interference.”

Pac said she has little doubt she and her co-workers will vote overwhelmingly to join a union.

“They’re the ones that are gonna help us be able to make proper wages, getting proper benefits, being able to get respect,” she said. “We have to report our tips. If we don’t report our tips enough, we are threatened with suspensions and terminations. There’s a lot of under-staffing. We have to break our backs by assisting two wheelchair passengers at once.”

Last month, Emanuel followed through on his promise to tie licenses for airport contractors to a “labor peace agreement.”

But the mayor’s ordinance goes beyond preserving the right to unionize. It requires those airline contractors and sub-contractors to pay their employees no less than $13.45-an-hour beginning on July 1, 2018, with annual cost-of-living increases after that. Employees whose wages include gratuities must be paid $1-an-hour more than the $5.95-an-hour minimum wage for tipped employees.

Tom Balanoff, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1, called the mayor’s ordinance one of the biggest victories for organized labor to come along in years.

SEIU Local 1 is among a group of investors that recently purchased the Sun-Times. The union has been attempting to organize contract employees at O’Hare.

Balanoff said he has no doubt that most, if not all of the 8,000 workers will choose to join unions, including his.

Airlines for America has argued that there is “no legal or policy justification for imposing a higher minimum wage on a few thousand workers who provide services to one industry at two locations” and the city’s “status as an airport operator/proprietor does not give it authority to regulate private labor relations.”

But Deputy Corporation Counsel Diane Pezanoski has assured aldermen the ordinance is on solid legal ground because it “comes pretty much directly from a licensing and training program in Los Angeles” that was challenged unsuccessfully by the airlines and service providers at Los Angeles International Airport.

Check out the full story over at The Chicago Sun-Times!

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City Council approves law boosting pay, easing unionization for airport workers

The Chicago City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday that will give airport baggage handlers, janitors and other contracted workers a pay bump and make it easier for them to form a union.

The law, expected to affect 8,000 workers, requires airline subcontractors to abide by certain labor standards in order to receive a license to operate at O’Hare and Midway airports.

Starting July 1 of next year, companies must pay workers at least $13.45 an hour and establish labor peace agreements with any union trying to organize the workers. That means the union agrees not to strike or protest and the employer agrees not to resist the organizing efforts, which historically has led to more successful union elections.

Tipped workers, such as wheelchair attendants, must be paid $1 more than Chicago’s tipped minimum wage.

Airlines for America, an advocacy group for the airlines that hire many of the subcontractors, opposed the measure. It argued that the measure violates federal labor law by forcing a private employer into an agreement with a union that employees have not yet elected to join and that certain industries shouldn’t be subject to a higher minimum wage.

The ordinance, which was introduced in late July by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and backed by members of the Black, Latino and Progressive caucuses, is modeled after a similar law in Los Angeles that requires labor peace agreements and has so far survived a legal challenge.

The passage of the measure comes after a two-year campaign by the Service Employees International Union to highlight the pay and working conditions of Chicago’s nonunionized airport workers, who it seeks to add to its member rolls.

“It’s a win-win-win-win for airport workers, passengers, the city and the airlines,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff, whose union organized several protests and strikes to pressure lawmakers. “It’s going to start a process to make a better life for the workers here and make a safer, cleaner, more convenient airport for the passengers and help Chicago start to lift up all of our communities.”

The law covers baggage handlers, aircraft cabin cleaners, janitors, security officers, ticket-takers, de-icers and wheelchair attendants, among other workers.

Be sure to check out the full story over at the Chicago Tribune!

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Chicago set to raise airport workers’ pay, clear path to a union

Edith Alvarenga has spent the past 12 years picking up trash, sweeping up crumbs and mopping up spills — and occasional bodily fluids — that passengers leave behind on airplanes. And she loves it.

She loves that nearly everyone at O’Hare Airport knows her. She loves helping passengers, especially Spanish-speaking travelers, when they aren’t sure where to go. She loves seeing people arriving and departing, which makes her feel like she is traveling herself.

What Alvarenga says she doesn’t love about her job as a cabin cleaner in Terminal 3 is that she gets no benefits, that her $11.50 hourly wage is barely enough to make ends meet and that workers are sometimes treated unfairly.

So she is excited for Wednesday, when the Chicago City Council is expected to approve an ordinance that would boost the wages of O’Hare and Midway airport workers and clear the path for them to unionize.

“When we don’t like something, the best thing is to fight to make it better,” Alvarenga, a native of El Salvador, said in Spanish. “I like the work and I want to make this job better.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced the ordinance in late July after a two-year campaign by the Service Employees International Union to hold the city accountable for the pay and working conditions of airline subcontractors, part of a national push by the union as it seeks to add airport workers to its rolls.

Chicago’s ordinance makes labor standards part of the requirements for obtaining a license to provide services at O’Hare and Midway airports. It covers nearly 8,000 workers employed by contractors hired by the airlines, including baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, janitors, security officers, ticket-takers, de-icers and wheelchair attendants.

The ordinance states licensed contractors must pay workers at least $13.45 an hour starting next July 1, and raise the wage in proportion to the consumer price index every subsequent year. That gives them a leg up over Chicago’s minimum wage, which recently was raised to $11 an hour as the city gradually steps toward $13 by 2019.

Tipped workers like wheelchair attendants would get $1 more than the city’s tipped minimum wage, which currently is $5.95.

Contractors also would have to establish “labor peace agreements” with any union that asks, which means that the union would agree not to picket or call strikes and the company would agree not to resist organizing efforts. Such agreements don’t require an employer to recognize a union or enter into a collective bargaining agreement, but they can smooth the path to a union election.

“It certainly makes it easier to organize workers if they aren’t feeling threatened,” said Izabela Miltko-Ivkovich, spokeswoman for SEIU Local 1, which was behind several strikes and protests at O’Hare over the last two years.

The ordinance is opposed by Airlines for America, an airline advocacy group that counts United and American Airlines among its members. In a letter to Chicago’s Department of Aviation, the group argued that the labor peace provision violates federal labor law and is “ambiguous, internally inconsistent, and provides virtually no guidance regarding implementation.” In addition, “there is no policy or economic justification for establishing a separate minimum wage for just one small group of private sector employees working for one industry at two locations in the city.”

Other airports abide by airport-specific compensation requirements, including San Francisco; Seattle; Minneapolis; LaGuardia and JFK in New York; and Newark, N.J. Chicago modeled its ordinance after Los Angeles’ airport law, which contains a labor peace provision, because it withstood a legal challenge, SEIU said.

“This is about ensuring the highest standard and most efficient operations at Midway and O’Hare,” the mayor’s office said in a statement Thursday.

It is also about politics as SEIU, the massive union behind the Fight for $15 campaign, appeals to elected officials to advance worker interests and reach the growing segment of low-wage workers it would like to convert into members.

“They are using political maneuvering to gain access to a new labor market,” said Bob Bruno, labor professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. SEIU says 110,000 airport workers have won raises since it began its national airport campaign in 2012, and 22,000 have joined an SEIU union.

Emanuel’s ordinance came as another proposal to lift wages for airport workers, introduced in January, stalled in committee. Ald. Ameya Pawar, 47th, in late June threatened to invoke a rule that would force that ordinance to the full Council for a vote, where he believed it had enough support to pass even without the mayor’s blessing. The next day SEIU issued a press release announcing it was having positive discussions with the mayor’s administration and Ald. Patrick O’Connor, 40th, chairman of the Workforce Development and Audit Committee, on legislation.

The Workforce and Aviation committees approved the mayor’s ordinance swiftly last week.

Pawar, a Democratic candidate for governor, said the issue is personal to him. His first internship while in graduate school involved working with refugees, many of whom worked at the airport, and he heard from them about low pay and alleged abuses such as wage theft.

“I told myself that if I was ever in a position to do something about this, I would,” said Pawar, who last year supported the union as it announced it had filed 80 complaints accusing O’Hare airport contractors of more than $1 million in wage theft, which can occur when people work off the clock or when employers don’t compensate tipped employees whose gratuities don’t get them to standard minimum wage.

“I believe, once this passes, that this will be one of the greatest victories for airport workers in the country,” Pawar said.

If workers unionize and are able to bargain for health benefits, paid leave, performance bonuses and other improvements, it would be a boon to an economy that has seen a decline in decent-paying middle-class jobs, Bruno said.

“They represent the growing sector of our economy, and something has to happen to lift them into the middle class,” he said. “If these workers don’t become middle class, then we will continue to see sluggish growth, we will see wages flatten out, we will have a seriously hollowed-out economy.”

Many airport jobs used to fetch decent middle-class wages and benefits, but that started to change in the 1980s and ’90s as airlines started to outsource the jobs to third-party contractors that paid the lowest wage people were willing to take, said Robert Mann, an airline industry consultant based in New York.

The change was driven by industry deregulation, competitive pressure from low-cost airlines and other economic shocks that prompted airlines to cut costs, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks and airline restructurings, Mann said. Between 2002 and 2012, the outsourcing of baggage porter jobs more than tripled, while hourly wages declined by 45 percent, from $19 to $10.60 (in 2012 dollars), according to a report from the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California at Berkeley.

But while contracting out the work saves airlines money, it also leads to higher turnover and service gaps, Mann said.

“If you try to work the ramp in Chicago in the winter, it’s cold, it’s windy, it’s dangerous, especially at night,” he said. “If you have the opportunity to earn money indoors, you take that.”

Alvarenga, the cabin cleaner at O’Hare, said she joined the SEIU effort because her loyalty was not met with the respect she felt she had earned.

Alvarenga, 42, came to Chicago on a fiance visa in 2005 to join her now-husband, Saturnino, who had been her childhood neighbor in El Salvador. She got the job cleaning airplanes that same year after seeing an ad in the newspaper.

She started at minimum wage but earned a 25-cent raise each year, and was making $9.50 an hour when a new cleaning contractor took over in 2010. The new contractor, Prospect Airport Services, told the workers their wages would be reduced to $9, and that if they didn’t want it they could quit, she said. Most people stayed, she said, because they needed the paycheck and worried they might not find something else.

“It made me furious,” Alvarenga said, noting that her wage has risen to $11.50 not because of raises, but because the city raised its minimum wage.

Des Plaines-based Prospect Airport Services did not respond to a request for comment.

“I think what we need most is a union that sees the injustices and stops the abuses, more than anything against the Hispanics,” Alvarenga said, “because the Hispanics are those that are most discriminated against, and if they don’t speak English it’s worse.”

As she sat in her living room on Chicago’s Northwest Side, Alvarenga said she has dreamed of what she will do with the higher wage once the city approves the ordinance. She and her husband live with two of their three children and a yappy Chihuahua mix named Pepito in a tidy home on an otherwise industrial street, beside a parking lot for city garbage trucks.

Her first priority is to establish a savings account for her new baby, due to arrive this month, and help her other three other children — aged 21, 18 and 16 — go to good colleges.

“That’s the best inheritance I can give them, so they can get a career that allows them to support themselves,” she said.

She also wants to get on an airplane herself and take a vacation for the first time in four years. She plans to go to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Check out the full story over at The Chicago Tribune!

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Road to the Chicago Airport Worker Ordinance: Victory is Near!

Para leer en español, se desplaza hacia abajo / Scroll down to read the Spanish version. 

After a hard-fought campaign over the past two years, including the many strikes, protests and press conferences detailed in our “Road to the Chicago Airport Worker Ordinance” blog post series, airport workers are about to move closer to $15 and union rights!

Major legislation slated for a Chicago City Council vote on September 6 would create a pathway to unionization for nearly 8,000 O’Hare and Midway airport workers and raise their wages to $13.45 an hour.

Many airport workers currently make the city’s minimum wage of $11 an hour. A $13.45 hourly wage represents a 22 percent increase in pay for airport workers, or more than $5,000 in extra income per year.

This is what people power looks like! This important ordinance—which also requires labor peace at O’Hare and Midway—would not have been possible without airport workers, SEIU Local 1, community allies and other supporters coming together to demand better standards at our airports.

If the ordinance passes on September 6 as expected, airport workers will enter the next phase of their campaign with support from SEIU Local 1 to win their union and $15. While much work remains ahead, this ordinance marks an extremely important milestone for Chicago airport workers and their fight for a brighter future.

When we fight together, we win!

Check out our past “Road to the Chicago Airport Worker Ordinance” blog posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

El Camino a la Ordenanza sobre los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos de Chicago:
¡Se acerca la victoria!

Después de una dura lucha en la campaña durante los últimos dos años, incluyendo las muchas huelgas, protestas y conferencias de prensa que detallamos en nuestra serie de entradas de blog “El Camino a la Ordenanza sobre los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos de Chicago,” ¡los trabajadores de los aeropuertos están a punto de llegar más cerca de los $15 y derechos bajo la Unión!

Una importante legislación programada para votación el 6 de septiembre en el Consejo Municipal de Chicago podría crear el camino a la afiliación a la Unión para cerca de 8,000 trabajadores de O’Hare y Midway y aumentar su salario mínimo a $13.45 la hora.

Muchos trabajadores de los aeropuertos actualmente ganan el salario mínimo de la ciudad de $11 la hora. Un salario de $13.45 la hora representa un aumento del 22 por ciento en la paga para los trabajadores de los aeropuertos, o más de $5,000 en ingreso adicional al año.

¡Ese es el resultado del poder popular! Esta ordenanza tan importante, que también requiere paz laboral en O’Hare y Midway, no hubiera sido posible sin que los trabajadores de los aeropuertos, el Local 1 de SEIU, los aliados comunitarios y otros partidarios unieran fuerzas para exigir mejores estándares en nuestros aeropuertos.

Si se aprueba la ordenanza el 6 de septiembre, según se espera, los trabajadores del aeropuerto entrarán en la próxima fase de su campaña con el apoyo del Local 1 de SEIU para conseguir su Unión y los $15. Aunque queda mucho trabajo por hacer, esta ordenanza marca un hito sumamente importante para los trabajadores de los aeropuertos de Chicago y su lucha por un futuro más prometedor.

¡Cuando luchamos juntos, ganamos!

No dejen de leer nuestras entradas de blog anteriores “El Camino a la Ordenanza sobre los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos de Chicago”: Parte 1, Parte 2, Parte 3 y Parte 4.

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From Fighting for $15 to Blocking Right to Work, Striking Missouri Workers Are Challenging the GOP

KANSAS CITY, MO.—Bill Thompson, 46, grew up believing in the American Dream. When he graduated from college in 1995 with an engineering degree, he assumed he would have no trouble covering his bills along with the middle-class niceties his father, a postal clerk and member of the American Postal Workers Union, was able to provide to his family growing up.

Thompson was hired by a local engineering firm out of college, but his training was soon rendered obsolete by new technologies and he lost his job. With $46,000 in student debt and two young children to support, he was in need of a job—any job. So, he turned to fast food.

Thompson made $8.50 an hour at his first job in the industry, working at a now defunct chain of buffets. That was 1997. Today, he makes $9.10 as a cook at a Burger King just outside the city limits.

“$9.10 an hour isn’t enough to pay my bills,” he says. “The last time I saw a doctor was when I was 15 years old. My teeth are rotting. I can’t see much anymore. I can’t afford the medical attention I need.”

When asked why he decided to join the movement to raise the minimum wage in Kansas City two years ago, Thompson kept it short. “I’m fighting for my life,” he said.

Yesterday, Thompson and thousands of his fellow low-wage workers in more than 400 cities nationwide went on a one-day strike. Their key demands remain straightforward: a raise and a union.

Five years into the Fight for $15, there’s a new objective in battleground states like Missouri: oust the politicians propagating local anti-union laws. The Service Employees International Union, which backs the Fight for $15, announced in August that it is launching a new campaign to unseat GOP governors and other elected officials who oppose minimum wage increases and union rights.

Kansas City has already won a wage increase once this year: In early August, 69 percent of voters backed a resolution raising the city’s minimum wage to $10 an hour on August 24, and $15 by 2022.

But that raise lasted for just four days. On August 28, a new state law took effect that effectively canceled Kansas City’s wage increase, as well as a similar measures in St. Louis. The law, passed in May by Missouri’s GOP-controlled state legislature, prohibits cities from raising their minimum wages above that of the state minimum of $7.70 an hour. The measure is one of dozens of so-called “pre-emption laws” that GOP-dominated state legislatures have passed in order to block blue cities from pursuing progressive measures like minimum wage hikes and paid sick days.

But labor is fighting on more than one front in Missouri, which in February became the 28th state to pass a so-called right to work law. The battle’s not over yet: In August, a coalition of labor groups, led by the Missouri AFL-CIO, submitted more than 300,000 signatures in an effort to put the anti-union measure up for a vote on the November 2018 ballot.

Immigrant workers, who make an average of $150 a week less than their citizen counterparts, marched yesterday with another threat on their minds: Donald Trump’s looming announcement that he plans to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a work permit program for unauthorized immigrants who arrived to the United States as children.

Maria*, a fast-food worker and unauthorized immigrant, was among those on strike yesterday. She has been in the U.S. for more than 20 years and currently makes $10.20 an hour at Burger King. (She is identified by a pseudonym because of the possibility of retaliation by immigration enforcement officials.) Her son, whom she brought to the U.S. when he was a toddler, has been granted DACA. Maria fears what might happen next. Though she has a great deal on her mind, she says, she wasn’t going to miss out on the day’s protest.

“I’ve been with the movement for three years now, and I’m going to keep fighting until we get what we deserve,” she says. “I’m not going to stop fighting because I am scared. It is this—my fellow workers, marching together, that reminds me that I am not alone, and that we can win.”

Read more about how Missouri workers are fighting back over at In These Times!

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Road to the Chicago Airport Worker Ordinance: Part 4

Para leer en español, se desplaza hacia abajo / Scroll down to read the Spanish version

Building off the momentum from their massive November 2016 strike, Chicago airport workers began 2017 with a ground swell of support from the public. Their allies on the Chicago City Council also took a strong stand for airport workers by proposing an airport lease ordinance to lift labor standards at O’Hare and Midway airports…

‘Lift Up Airport Workers’ Ordinance Introduced In Chicago City Council
January 25, 2017

With the backing of SEIU Local 1, 36 Chicago aldermen proposed an ordinance seeking to boost wages for airport workers and require labor peace provisions in future airline lease agreements between the city and airlines.

The “Lift Up Airport Workers” ordinance represented the first legislative attempt at moving Chicago airport workers forward in their fight for $15 and union rights.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not initially support the legislation. But after productive conversations between his administration and SEIU Local 1, the measure ultimately morphed into a stronger ordinance — the one set for a City Council vote on September 6.

Big Action Against United Airlines
May 24, 2017

Hundreds of Chicago airport workers, aldermen and SEIU Local 1 members protested outside United Airlines’ shareholders meeting, and 30 people were arrested in an act of civil disobedience after they linked arms, sat on the street and blocked traffic.

The aim of the demonstration was to keep pressure on United to invest in good jobs and responsible contractors at our nation’s airports.

Airport Worker Campaign Highlighted At Chicago’s Pride Parade
June 25, 2017

SEIU Local 1 put a spotlight on airport workers’ fight for $15 and union rights at the city’s Pride Parade, which drew thousands of people.

The union distributed leaflets urging United and American Airlines to support good jobs at our airports, and we helped hang a banner along the parade route calling for a $15 minimum wage and union rights for airport workers. Emanuel and numerous other politicians passed the banner during the parade.

Check back on Tuesday for our final installment of “Road to the Chicago Airport Worker Ordinance.”

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

El Camino a la Ordenanza sobre los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos de Chicago: Parte 4

Con la energía del impulso de su huelga masiva de noviembre de 2016, los trabajadores del aeropuerto de Chicago comenzaron el año 2017 con una nutrida base de apoyo del público. Sus aliados en el Consejo Municipal de Chicago también adoptaron una postura fuerte a favor de los trabajadores del aeropuerto al proponer una ordenanza de arrendamiento del aeropuerto para elevar los estándares laborales en los aeropuertos O’Hare y Midway.

Se introduce la Ordenanza para ‘Elevar a los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos’ en el Consejo Municipal de Chicago
25 de enero de 2017

Con el apoyo del Local 1 de SEIU, 36 concejales de Chicago propusieron una ordenanza que pretende aumentar los salarios de los trabajadores de los aeropuertos y requerir disposiciones de paz laboral en los acuerdos de arrendamiento futuros entre la ciudad y las aerolíneas.

La ordenanza para “Elevar a los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos” representó el primer intento legislativo para llevar adelante a los trabajadores de los aeropuertos de Chicago en su lucha por los $15 y derechos bajo la Unión.

El Alcalde de Chicago Rahm Emanuel no apoyó inicialmente la legislación. Sin embargo, después de conversaciones productivas entre su administración y el Local 1 de SEIU, eventualmente la medida se transformó en una ordenanza más sólida, que es la que está fijada para votación el 6 de septiembre, en el Consejo Municipal.

Una acción importante contra United Airlines
24 de mayo de 2017

Cientos de trabajadores de los aeropuertos de Chicago, concejales y miembros del Local 1 de SEIU hicieron una protesta frente a la asamblea de accionistas de United Airlines, y 30 personas resultaron arrestadas en un acto de desobediencia civil después que estas se unieron de brazos, se sentaron en la calle e impidieron el paso del tráfico.

El propósito de la manifestación era mantener la presión sobre United para que invierta en buenos trabajos y contratistas responsables en los aeropuertos de nuestra nación.

La campaña de los trabajadores de los aeropuertos sale a reluciren la Parada de Orgullo Gay de Chicago
25 de junio de 2017

El Local 1 de SEIU sacó a relucir la lucha de los trabajadores de los aeropuertos por los $15 y derechos bajo la Unión en la Parada de Orgullo Gay de la ciudad, que atrajo a miles de personas.

La Unión distribuyó volantes exhortando a United y American Airlines a que apoyen buenos trabajos en nuestros aeropuertos, y ayudamos a colgar un estandarte en la ruta de la parada para exigir un salario mínimo de $15 y derechos bajo la Unión para los trabajadores de los aeropuertos. Emanuel y muchos otros políticos pasaron frente al estandarte durante la parada.

Estén atentos el martes para nuestro último relato de “El Camino a la Ordenanza sobre los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos de Chicago.”

Leer la Parte 1, Parte 2 y Parte 3.

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Road to the Chicago Airport Ordinance: Part 3

Para leer en español, se desplaza hacia abajo / Scroll down to read the Spanish version

When we last left off in “Road to the Chicago Airport Worker Ordinance: Part 2,” O’Hare Airport workers and their supporters on the Chicago City Council and at SEIU Local 1 had called attention to wage theft allegations at the airport.

Fast forward two months: O’Hare Airport workers, SEIU Local 1 and U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) were shedding light on another big problem at the airport…

Airport Workers, Congressman Urge Action On Health, Safety Violations
November 14, 2016

After allegations of rampant wage theft at the airport prompted a city investigation, O’Hare Airport workers came together with U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez to demand a safer workplace.

They called on Chicago’s Aviation Department to investigate alleged violations of federal OSHA, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration, standards.

O’Hare Airport workers, who filed complaints with OSHA, alleged they sustained serious injuries, including severe burns, chemical exposure and concussions, due to health and safety violations committed by their employers.

O’Hare Airport Workers Strike Over Unfair Labor Practices
November 29, 2016

Just a few weeks after raising their voices about alleged OSHA violations, O’Hare Airport workers held their largest strike yet over unfair labor practices by their employers.

Over 500 O’Hare Airport baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, janitors and wheelchair attendants, plus 1,500 allies from SEIU Local 1 and the community, were on the picket lines demanding an end to employer interference with airport workers’ efforts to organize.

A dozen Chicago aldermen, including chairs of the Latino and Progressive caucuses, rallied with the striking workers.

Check back for “Road to the Chicago Airport Worker Ordinance: Part 4.”

Read Part 1 and Part 2



El Camino a la Ordenanza sobre los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos de Chicago: Parte 3

Cuando llegamos al final del relato de “El Camino a la Ordenanza sobre los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos de Chicago: Parte 2,” los trabajadores del aeropuerto O’Hare y sus partidarios en el Consejo Municipal de Chicago y en el Local 1 de SEIU habían llamado la atención a los alegatos de robo de salarios en el aeropuerto.

Dos meses más adelante: los trabajadores del aeropuerto O’Hare, el Local 1 de SEIU y el Congresista de EE.UU. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL,4) estaban arrojando luz sobre otro problema grave en el aeropuerto.

Los trabajadores del aeropuerto y el Congresista exhortan a tomar acción sobre las violaciones de salud y seguridad
14 de noviembre de 2016

Después de que los alegatos de robo de salarios desenfrenado en el aeropuerto dieron lugar a una investigación por parte de la ciudad, los trabajadores del aeropuerto O’Hare unieron fuerzas con el Congresista de EE.UU. Luis Gutiérrez para exigir un centro de trabajo más seguro.

Estos le pidieron al Departamento de Aviación de Chicago que investigara los alegatos de violaciones de las normas federales de OSHA, o de la Administración de Salud y Seguridad Ocupacional.

Los trabajadores del aeropuerto O’Hare, quienes registraron acusaciones ante OSHA, alegaron que sufrieron lesiones graves, incluso quemadas severas, exposición a productos químicos y conmociones cerebrales, debido a las violaciones de salud y seguridad cometidas por sus empleadores.

Los trabajadores del aeropuerto O’Hare se van en huelga sobre prácticas laborales injustas
29 de noviembre de 2016

Solo unas pocas semanas después de dar a conocer sus opiniones sobre las supuestas violaciones de OSHA, los trabajadores del aeropuerto O’Hare llevaron a cabo su mayor huelga hasta la fecha sobre prácticas laborales injustas por parte de sus empleadores.

Más de 500 encargados del manejo del equipaje, limpiadores de cabinas, trabajadores de limpieza, y encargados de sillas de rueda en el aeropuerto O’Hare, más 1,500 aliados del Local 1 de SEIU y la comunidad, participaron en las filas de piquete para exigir que el empleador dejara de interferir con los esfuerzos para organizarse realizados por los trabajadores del aeropuerto.

Una docena de concejales de Chicago, incluyendo los directores del comité Latino y del comité Progresista, participaron en la manifestación con los trabajadores huelguistas.

    Estén atentos el jueves para “El Camino a la Ordenanza sobre los Trabajadores de los Aeropuertos de Chicago: Parte 4.”

Leer la Parte 1 y la Parte 2.

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Good businesses, even universities, invest in their employees


Good businesses, even universities, invest in their employees

If higher education truly wishes to help solve the world’s complex problems, it is essential that all voices get a seat at the table, including those of graduate student workers. At Washington University, we need to do more to ensure graduate student workers don’t have to choose between academic success and personal well-being.

We are “privileged to be here,” we graduate student workers are so often told, and we shouldn’t question issues of compensation if we are truly passionate about the work we do. But as long as Washington University insists that we are students only, graduate student workers receive none of the protections afforded to employees under the law, even while we are compelled to remain in this tenuous position in order to complete our degrees.

While Washington U. is ostensibly committed to its role as a beacon of higher learning in the St. Louis community, it is in fact run as a business — and an incredibly lucrative one, at that. But good businesses invest in their employees. By promoting the well-being of the whole employee, Washington U. stands to benefit from higher graduation rates, better job placement, better academic and teaching work, and a healthier spirit of collaboration between students and their faculty advisers.

I believe a graduate student worker union will offer those protections where the administration has failed to do so, resulting in better conditions for workers and increased productivity across the university.

Meredith Kelling  •  Maplewood

Meredith Kelling is an outstanding, graduate student activist with SEIU Local 1. Her Letter to the Editor appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on August 28th, 2017.

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SEIU Local 1 Endorses Yvette Simpson for Mayor

CINCINNATI – The members of Service Employees International Union Local 1 announced their endorsement of Yvette Simpson, current President Pro Tem of the Cincinnati City Council, for Mayor.

“Yvette Simpson has been a strong supporter of the members of SEIU Local 1 and will ensure all of us have access to a quality standard of living and will work to end the widespread poverty in the city,” said Yanela Sims, SEIU Local 1 Ohio Director. “Having grown up in poverty, she has clearly demonstrated that she understands our needs and will fight with working men and women for economic justice. We were proud to work with her on our contract campaign last year, and she long been a force for good in the city. I know that she will continue to work for all Cincinnatians.”

Councilwoman Simpson was a vocal supporter of the Cincinnati’s janitors and has pledged to make economic justice a priority in her administration.

“I am proud that SEIU Local 1 has endorsed my campaign for Mayor of Cincinnati,” Simpson said. “I am honored to have earned the support of a labor union that works to build strength for all working people, on the job and in our communities. I look forward to continuing to stand with and be a strong advocate for workers and their families in Cincinnati.”

Councilwoman Simpson currently is the Chair of the Human Services, Youth, and Arts committee, and serves on the Budget & Finance, Law and Public Safety, Neighborhoods and Major Transportation and Regional Cooperation committees. Simpson is also a member of the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission, as appointed by the City Planning Commission.

“We believe Yvette Simpson the best candidate for Cincinnati Mayor because she has stood with us over her career, always fighting for working families and our neighborhoods,” said Arnita Summerlin, a Cincinnati janitor. “I know she will continue to fight for me, my family and my neighborhood.”

SEIU Local 1 rallies behind candidates who have demonstrated a strong record on issues important to all working families. Local 1 is dedicated to achieving economic justice for all workers; part of that fight is recognizing that no one leads a single-issue life; social and racial justice are crucial in improving the lives of our members and achieving economic fairness in our country.

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Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest including janitors, security officers, 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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