St. Charles Community College adjunct faculty approve contract

St. Charles Community College’s part-time faculty members have ratified their first contract, which was approved by the college’s board on Monday.

The four-year contract will increase wages and stabilize scheduling for the more than 250 part-time faculty members, who voted in March 2016 to unionize and join the Service Employees International Union Local 1.

“This ratification is a really big moment for SCC adjuncts in gaining respect and recognition on campus,” Lisa Decarli, part-time faculty member in sociology, said in a statement. “Through this contract, not only will we get pay raises, but we’ll also have increased job security, a formal grievance process, and a respected and powerful voice on campus.”

Congratulations to our Local 1 brothers and sisters at SCC on ratifying their first contract! Be sure to read the full story over at the St. Louis Business Journal.

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Republican Lawmakers Take A Raise Away From St. Louis Workers

Two months ago, Cynthia Sanders got a raise at her janitorial job, from $8.30 to $10 per hour, after St. Louis passed a law raising its minimum wage. The extra money has helped the 51-year-old cover groceries and utilities as she raises three grandchildren.

But in just a few weeks, Sanders’ pay rate could drop back down again, thanks to a new law Republicans in the Missouri legislature passed invalidating St. Louis’ minimum wage.

“It was life-changing to get this, and it’s going to be life-changing to have it taken away,” said Sanders, who cleans four kitchenettes and eight bathrooms per shift at a Wells Fargo building downtown. “You’ve got children looking at you to be a provider. How do I tell them we’ve got to eat noodles again this week?”

Like other low-wage workers in Missouri and beyond, Sanders finds herself caught in a political and legal battle between local Democrats and state Republicans. As blue cities become incubators for progressive policy, their red state legislatures are trying to thwart them through “preemption laws” that forbid cities and counties from implementing their own measures related to the minimum wage, paid sick days, plastic bag taxes and other hot-button issues.

So far, Republican state legislators are winning the fight. In Missouri, for example, the GOP controls both chambers of the statehouse as well as the governor’s mansion.

Under the law Republicans passed in response to St. Louis’ new ordinance, no locality could have a minimum wage higher than the state level of $7.70 per hour. And St. Louis is not the only city immediately affected. A referendum to gradually raise the minimum wage in Kansas City to $15 was slated to go on the ballot in August.

Gov. Eric Greitens (R) said he does not intend to veto the bill. So under the rules of the Missouri Constitution it will eventually go into effect automatically, reverting the St. Louis minimum wage to $7.70 on Aug. 28. It would also preempt the minimum wage under consideration in Kansas City.

As Missouri Governor Eric Greitens lowers the minimum wage for over 35,000 working families in St. Louis, SEIU Local 1 members refuse to go down without a fight! Read the full HuffPost story, featuring Cynthia Sanders, a Local 1 janitor!

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Labor, City Council allies propose fair workweek ordinance

Arguing that “unpredictable” scheduling makes it tough to get ahead or balance work and family, organized labor and its City Council allies on Tuesday proposed a legislative remedy.

The “Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance” is patterned after similar legislation in San Francisco, Seattle and New York City.

If the City Council approves, employers would be required to give their hourly workers at least two weeks’ advance notice of what their work schedules will be.

If a schedule change is made with less than 24 hours notice, the employer would be required to provide one additional hour of pay for each changed shift.

Employers would be required to provide workers a written “good faith estimate” of the employee’s work schedule and minimum hours prior to or on their first day on the job.

Danny Rodriquez works as a wheelchair attendant, security officer and weekend shift manager at O’Hare. He also takes care of his grandmother, who suffers from mental illness and requires around-the-clock care.

“Sometimes, I can’t stay home. I can’t be by her side. Either I go to work or I have a chance of getting fired for me calling off. No one should be in that predicament,” Rodriguez said.

SEIU Local 1 is a proud supporter #FairWorkweek Ordinance! Read more over at The Chicago Sun-Times, including an interview with Danny Rodriquez, an O’Hare Airport worker who is a leader in O’Hare Airport workers efforts to organize.

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Union Janitors Rally, Calling for Greitens to Uphold Minimum Wage

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Union janitors rally in downtown St. Louis calling on Missouri Governor Greitens to uphold the $10 an hour minimum wage in the city.

Janitor Eugene Hubbard says the people who clean your office have bills to pay too.

“You know, these people go to work everyday and they go to a clean building,” Hubbard says. “Half the janitors they don’t even see, because a lot of us are at not – but they do see our work.”

Sierra Parker is a janitor at a corporate office downtown and says she is fighting for the minimum wage.

“The message here today is to fight for justice for the janitors and not just only the janitors, but the fast food workers too,” Parker says. “We need this $10 minimum wage.”

Governor Greitens has yet to sign a bill passed in the regular session, House Bill 1194. The bill would repeal the higher minimum wage in the city of St. Louis.

Read the full story, featuring Local 1 members, over at KMOX!

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AUDIO: United Airlines Has Happy Shareholders, Unhappy Workers

United Airlines’ shareholders don’t seem too worried about the long-term impact of a passenger being violently dragged off a plane. But workers for United’s contractors are protesting low wages.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: It’s not the airline’s passengers who are fed up with United. These are employees – baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and others picketing across the street from the massive Willis Tower, downtown Chicago, where United is headquartered. These low-wage workers are not employed by United but by companies contracted with the airline. Raquel Brito says she and the others are not sharing in United’s recent surge in profits.

RAQUEL BRITO: We just need a living wage so we can pay our bills and put food on the table for our family.

Read the full interview over at NPR and listen to the interview with Raquel Brito, O’Hare Airport worker, below!

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Fight For $15 Protests Target McDonalds, United Airlines Shareholders

CBS United Shareholder 2017CHICAGO (CBS) — The Fight for $15 movement took aim at shareholders meetings for two Chicago area corporate giants on Wednesday — McDonald’s and United Airlines — as low-pay workers continued their push for a higher minimum wage.

Fight for $15 protesters also sought to send a message to United Airlines at the company’s shareholder meeting at Willis Tower on Wednesday.

Airport workers – including baggage handlers, janitors, and security officers – were joined by leaders of the Service Employees International Union, which has been trying to unionize the employees of subcontractors hired by the airlines.

“O’Hare workers are coming together with other airport workers from major cities across the country, all fighting for a better life by sticking together and speaking out,” SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff said.

The workers claim contractors hired by United undercut jobs at O’Hare, and undermine safety and security.

“We understand this is an important issue being raised in cities and states across the country. At United, we hold our vendors to the highest standards and require them to follow all applicable laws and regulations. Since we do not have a direct employer-employee relationship with our vendors’ employees, we must rely on them to work with each other directly,” United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said in an email.

SEIU officials said 30 airport workers and supporters were arrested at the United Airlines protest, including Balanoff. Police issued citations for blocking traffic.

Watch the full video over at CBS Chicago!

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St. Louis minimum wage increase takes effect Friday

STL FlagST. LOUIS – St. Louis City will raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour as the clock strikes midnight May 5. Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer lifted the injunction on the city ordinance that will bring the wage increase into effect.

The bill will eventually cap out at $11/hour as of Jan. 1 , 2018.

Minimum wage workers, like Richard Bullion of the Service Employees International Union, celebrated the announcement Friday.

“Too many working people in St. Louis need to take a second job just to keep our head above water. Between bills, food, and rent, there’s not much left at the end of the day,” Bullion, a janitor for 25 years, said. “We need to make sure working families can make a living, and raising the minimum wage will go a long way towards making that a reality. The janitors, higher education faculty, and public sector workers of SEIU Local 1 thank Mayor Lyda Krewson for implementing this law. We fought long and hard for this victory.”

This is a huge victory for the working families of St. Louis! Read the full story over at The Missouri Times.


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For Immediate Release: Chicago Airport Workers Demand Action on Low Airport Standards


After Chicago Aviation Commissioner Apologizes for United Dragging Incident…

Chicago Airport Workers Demand Action on Low Airport Standards

Evans Must Take Airport Workers’ Concerns Seriously

Chicago (May 4, 2017) — O’Hare Airport worker Oliwia Pac issued the following statement in response to Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans’ apology to Congress over the United passenger dragging incident:

“Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans told CongressThursday that she’s ‘deeply sorry’ for the violent removal of Dr. Dao from a United Airlines flight last month.

“What Evans should also be ‘deeply sorry’ about is perpetuating a cycle of poverty among thousands of Chicago airport workers, like myself, who struggle to provide for our families.

“The dragging incident involving Dr. Dao was ‘deeply saddening and personally offensive,’ Evans said. Also personally offensive is Evans’ refusal to meet with me and other low-wage airport workers to discuss our concerns about the low standards at Chicago’s airports.

“Our requests to meet with Evans have gone unanswered for more than two years, and that’s unacceptable. We want Evans to take our concerns seriously and effectively address the deficiencies at our airports.”

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May Day rally in Cleveland focused on immigration

Cleveland May DayCLEVELAND — Cleveland was one of nearly 100 cities Monday, where the Service Employees International Union held rallies in support of immigrants, including those who are undocumented.

More than 200 demonstrators held a rally at the Free Stamp near City Hall Monday afternoon before marching to Public Square. The event’s sponsors included immigrant rights organizations and SEIU Local 1, whose members include janitors, security officers and food service workers.

Mary Kay Henry, SEIU’s  international president, said rallies were held in Cleveland and other cities because many immigrant workers and their families are living in fear of deportation.

“Unions have always worked for things like the minimum wage, the eight-hour work day, paid vacation and personal days, the weekend, we understood we were not just getting these things for our dues paying members,” said Sandra Ellington, a Cleveland janitor and member of SEIU Local 1, who spoke at the rally. “These things impacted all workers. These gains were not only things in the past though. Unions continue to work to improve the lives of all workers – not just those who belong to unions. We are here today to fight for a better life for everyone.”

On Public Square Monday evening, Cleveland’s Fight for $15 movement, which is backed by SEIU, held a rally in support of raising the minimum wage to $15. The group had sought to have Cleveland voters decide on raising the minimum wage to $15 in the city, but later withdrew their petition after strong opposition from city leaders and state legislators. Cleveland currently does not have a minimum wage. Ohio’s minimum wage is $8.15 an hour.

Read the full story over at! 

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Immigrant workers call for equality at May Day protest

Indy May Day“My name is Maria and I’m not ashamed to clean toilets,” said the Indianapolis custodian, in her native Spanish, standing on the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Maria Segovia, a Mexican immigrant, was one of more than 700 protesters, including low-income workers, union organizers, communists, a hodgepodge of progressive types and passersby, who took to the streets of Downtown Indianapolis on Monday afternoon.

They joined hundreds of thousands of demonstrators attending May Day events nationwide to protest the policies of President Donald Trump.

May Day — also known as International Worker’s Day — has spawned protests around the globe in past years highlighting workers’ rights. But on Monday, the impetus for the U.S. marches spanned from immigrants’ rights to LGBT awareness to police misconduct.

“Indiana needs good jobs and Indiana needs good jobs for immigrant families,” said Paul Napier, head of the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 900 custodial workers in Indianapolis.

“And we know that when we fight, we will win.”

Read the full story over at the Indy Star!

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