As 2017 comes to an end, we want to keep you updated on the security officers at DePaul University and their fight for a better future! Currently, Guardian Security Services Inc. officers who work at DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus, ensure that thousands of students, faculty, and staff, can safely live and learn yet many of these same officers struggle for the basics like groceries and CTA passes.
DePaul students have continued to show their support and solidarity for the officers by gathering, spreading the word on campus, and reaching out to DePaul leadership to discuss choosing a responsible, union security contractor. On October 24th, they joined Guardian Security officers as they went on an unfair labor practice strike. The whole city of Chicago is watching their fight. Read more about their one-day ULP strike over at The Chicago Sun-Times, CBS News, and DNAinfo!
The fight isn’t over! Be on the lookout for updates in January 2018 as Guardian Officers at DePaul continue their fight for a voice on the job and a better future for their families.
After months of negotiations, Local 1 janitors at St. Louis Lambert International Airport ratified a strong new contract. The agreement guarantees annual wage increases, stronger health benefits, and a voice on the job that will help janitors working at Lambert provide for their families and strengthen their communities.
“By coming together on the job, Lambert janitors were able to win a brighter future,” said SEIU Local 1 Lambert Janitor Sherry Fabing. “This new contract will help me provide for my family and makes sure that working people have a voice in the future of our airport.”
Local 1 members ratified the contract amidst an ongoing discussion about the privatization of St. Louis Lambert. The agreement ensures the working people who keep Lambert running every day have a seat at the table regarding any future decision about governance of our city’s airport.
Chicago airport worker and Syrian refugee Mohammad Al Zayed is fighting against the Trump administration’s unjust travel ban.
Al Zayed, a janitor at O’Hare Airport, talked to the Associated Press on December 3 about how the travel ban would impact him and his family.
The article ran in The Washington Post and hundreds of other news outlets worldwide!
SEATTLE — For most of the time Syrian refugee Mohammad Al Zayed has been in the United States, judges have been wrestling with the Trump administration’s efforts to impose travel restrictions that he says would keep him from seeing relatives who remain overseas.
It’s taken an emotional toll — one that continues this week as two U.S. appeals courts take up the issue yet again.
“It’s been 10 months, and we’re stuck,” Al Zayed, a janitor at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, said through an Arabic interpreter. “We can’t go back. We can’t bring our loved ones here.”
Citing national security concerns, President Donald Trump announced his initial travel ban on citizens of certain Muslim-majority nations in late January, bringing havoc and protests to airports around the country. A federal judge in Seattle soon halted that ban as discriminatory, and since then, the restrictions have been up to the U.S. Supreme Court and back down to the federal district courts as the administration has rewritten them.
The third and latest version targets about 150 million potential travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with some Venezuelan government officials and their families.
The administration said the latest ban is based on assessments of each country’s security situation and their willingness to share information about travelers. But judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked it to varying degrees just before it was due to take effect in October. The judges found that the ban appears impermissibly discriminatory, has no legitimate national security purpose and violates U.S. immigration law.
On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Seattle on the government’s appeal of the Hawaii judge’s ruling. The panel has already narrowed that decision to allow the administration to bar travelers who do not have a “bona fide” relationship with people or organizations already in the U.S. — an approach that echoed the Maryland judge’s ruling as well as an earlier travel ban decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
A full complement of 13 judges on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is due to hear the government’s appeal in the Maryland case on Friday in Richmond, Virginia.
Al Zayed, 50, arrived in the U.S. via Jordan in September 2016 with his wife, two sons and daughter after fleeing horrific fighting in Syria, which destroyed the textile factory where he worked and prevented his children from attending school. Al Zayed’s case is among several laid out in friend-of-the-court briefs filed by labor organizations opposed to the travel ban.
Al Zayed says he’s afraid he wouldn’t be able to return if he visited family overseas. His two brothers and parents remain in Syria, and he’s afraid he’ll never see his 85-year-old father again if the travel ban is upheld. Nevertheless, he says he’s happy to be here.
“Syria was very difficult — an impossible life for us,” he said. “So despite that they have the Muslim ban, I think, ‘Thank God that we are here.’”
On December 2, members in all 11 Local 1 cities joined together and brought festive cheer to our final membership meeting of 2017!
Together, we celebrated the holiday season and our recent successes, including the thousands of members who have reaffirmed their commitment to our union. We also looked onward to all our important contract fights coming up next year and prepared to keep up the fight for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice in 2018!
Here are highlights from our meetings in Akron, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and St. Louis:
Puerto Rican U.S. Veterans, Including Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient and Alds. Milly Santiago and Gilbert Villegas, Join Community Allies to Honor Veterans, Demand Sufficient Federal Hurricane and Debt Relief for Puerto Rico
Multi-city national week of action urged the federal government to provide Puerto Rico, including its 330,000 U.S. veterans and 35,000 active duty U.S. military personnel, with all the support it needs to recover, rebuild and grow
CHICAGO – During Veterans Day week, Puerto Rican U.S. veterans—including a Purple Heart and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient as well as Chicago Alds. Milly Santiago (31st), a former Army Reservist, and Gilbert Villegas (36th), a former Marine and chair of the City Council’s Latino and Veteran caucuses—joined community allies Thursday morning at Federal Plaza.
They gathered to honor all who have served in America’s armed forces and support our fellow U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico who remain in urgent need of aid nearly two months after Hurricane Maria.
“Don’t forget Puerto Rico,” said Corporal Tomas Lozada, a Korean War veteran who was part of the 65th Infantry Regiment Borinqueneers of Puerto Rico and is a Purple Heart and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. “We served the United States, and they are supposed to serve us.”
The group demanded that the federal government provide sufficient hurricane relief to Puerto Rico and eliminate the island’s $73 billion debt load, which has burdened Puerto Rican families for years and is holding back hurricane recovery efforts.
“It’s frustrating that in this day and age, 50 days later, that Puerto Rico is still without electricity, still without portable water, and people are leaving the island in droves to come to the mainland,” Ald. Villegas said.
“We want to tell our dear President Trump that Puerto Rico needs more than paper towels,” Ald. Santiago added.
Vamos4PR, a coalition of community, labor and civil rights organizations fighting for a fair economy for all Puerto Ricans, organized Chicago’s action and similar events throughout the week in at least three other cities, including Boston, New York and Hartford, Conn.
The coalition believes Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis shouldn’t be ignored or made worse by big banks seeking payouts. It’s time to eliminate Puerto Rico’s crippling public debt altogether.
BACKGROUND: There are 330,000 U.S. veterans and 35,000 active duty U.S. military personnel from Puerto Rico. Since the Korean War, 1,119 Puerto Ricans have died serving the United States. Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens for more than 100 years. They pay federal taxes such as Social Security and Medicare. The federal government has the same responsibilities toward them as other U.S. citizens.
SEIU Local 1 Slams Republican Leaders for Allowing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Expire for Working Families
CHICAGO — Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 2,500 Nicaraguans who have been living and working legally in the U.S. since January of 1999.
“Today’s heartless action will uproot working families who have been here legally for decades and force them to an undocumented status, which is why now more than ever we must stand united against racism, division and bigotry,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “Congress now has a moral obligation to act quickly to ensure that TPS holders can keep their jobs, be protected from deportation and continue to support their families.”
DHS is providing a grace period of 14 months after which TPS recipients from Nicaragua must leave the U.S. or be deported. The announcement makes clear that the same fate is likely for more than 57,000 Hondurans with TPS, about 195,000 Salvadorans, and it bodes poorly for the fate of another 50,000 Haitians as well as smaller numbers of working people from four other countries awaiting decisions within the next year. In all, more than 300,000 working people who have been legally present here for years face likely expulsion unless Congress acts to protect them.
SEIU members include foreign-born U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and immigrants authorized to work in the United States. Many SEIU Local 1 members have mixed-status families, they will continue to speak out support of TPS extension until Congress does the right thing.
After gathering more than 1,000 student signatures, students joined security officers to demand that DePaul’s administration support good jobs by replacing Guardian Security Services, Inc.
CHICAGO — On Tuesday morning, DePaul University students, faculty, community allies and SEIU Local 1 joined non-union Guardian Security Services, Inc. officers as they went on a one-day unfair labor practice strike.
Guardian Security is the security contractor for DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus. Students, allies and non-union officers called on DePaul’s administration to replace Guardian Security with a responsible union contractor, which the university uses for janitors and security officers at four other campus sites.
The officers’ campaign has strong support from allies and the community, with more than 1,000 students on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus signing a petition calling for their university to hire a contractor that prioritizes the safety of the campus over profits.
“This issue directly affects me and my fellow DePaul students because it’s our safety that is at stake, and it is our tuition dollars that pay for the security contractor on our campus,” said Alex Boutros, a senior at DePaul. “We’re here today to call on the DePaul administration to do the right thing: Stop taking advantage of these workers and hire a responsible security contractor that respects its workers and gives them a voice on the job.”
From alleged gender and racial discrimination to trouble with the National Labor Relations Board, Guardian Security has shown itself to be an irresponsible contractor. Many Guardian Security officers live in poverty and struggle to pay for basic needs, like groceries and CTA passes.
Service Employees International Union Local 1 (SEIU 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.
Day of action across the U.S. called on federal authorities to move on immediate relief to the island and cancel Puerto Rico’s $72 billion in public debt
CHICAGO – Puerto Rican leaders, community allies and Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) rallied today to demand immediate and sufficient federal aid to relieve and rebuild hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, including eliminating the island’s $72 billion in public debt, which is currently under review in federal bankruptcy court.
At the rally outside Merrill Lynch Wealth Management’s offices, members of Vamos4PR—the coalition of community, labor and civil rights organizations fighting for a fair economy for all Puerto Ricans—drew attention to the banks that helped create the Puerto Rican debt crisis and insist on continuing to profit in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Merrill Lynch was a leading underwriter for nearly 90 percent of Puerto Rico’s borrowings, reaping billions in fees from a distressed economy.
“Instead of thinking about how the island would need resources for the immense rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts it faces, the banks that have profited from the debt crisis expect to get more,” said Janeida Fuentes, the Chicago coordinator of the National Boricua Human Rights Network and a member of The Puerto Rican Agenda. “It’s immoral to insist that before Puerto Rican families can rebuild their homes, hospitals, schools and roads, they must first pay back the banks.”
The rally was part of a day of action in a dozen U.S. cities to highlight the plight of 3.4 million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico who have no electricity and drinking water, face shortages in fuel and food and are dealing with severely crippled telecommunications.
Vamos4PR members called on the federal government to provide Puerto Rico with all the aid it needs and eliminate the island’s public debt.
BACKGROUND: For information on the Puerto Rican debt crisis and the bankruptcy case click here: http://bit.ly/2jYicND
25,000 SEIU members and their families are struggling in the aftermath of the most devastating storm to hit Puerto Rico in a century, and SEIU Local 1 members stand with them as they recover and rebuild. More than a week after Hurricane Maria hit the island, millions of Puerto Ricans are still without electricity and access to essentials. Local 1 Chief Engineer Noel Sanchez, along with the the Puerto Rican Agenda and National Boricua Human Rights Network, raised more than $70,000 in relief and supplies for Puerto Rico in just two days! The emergency medical supplies, food, water, and toiletries were flown to the island on September 25.
Working people of SEIU Local 1 will continue to support relief efforts to help Puerto Rican working families recover from Hurricane Maria.
After months of coming together and showing their strength at the negotiation table, nearly 1,000 Jel Sert operators, mechanics, janitors, and clerks overwhelmingly ratified a strong new contract that provides financial security and a brighter future for themselves and their families.
The new contract will guarantee higher wages, better benefits, and a respect on the job. With their strong new contract, Jel Sert members will be better able to support their families and strengthen West Chicago.
These gains are a result of them coming together in the fight for economic justice. Jel Sert workers showed how coming together in their union helps working people win financial security and dignity at work. Jel Sert operators, mechanics, janitors, and clerks will continue to work hard to provide quality products for consumers and their West Chicago communities!