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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Este sábado 29 de abril otra marcha busca denunciar las políticas antiambientales de Trump

Climate March Announcement - Univision

Activistas comunitarios alertan que la degradación del medio ambiente significa una grave amenaza para las comunidades de bajos recursos. La marcha proambientalista será en el centro de Chicago y coincidirá con los primeros 100 días del presidente Trump en la Casa Blanca.

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SLU adjuncts finalize their first union contract

5743704552ae5.image ST. LOUIS • St. Louis University leaders and members of the Service Employees International Union have tentatively agreed on the first contract for adjunct faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education.

The contract is still pending approval from union members within the next week.

The five-year contract comes more than a year after the SLU adjunct professors voted to unionize. Out of 156 eligible voters, 89 voted in favor back in March of 2016, and 28 voted against it.

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En “Día de Acción Nacional”, los puertorriqueños rechazan recortes en la isla

noelsanchezWASHINGTON.- En el marco de un “Día de Acción Nacional”, líderes puertorriqueños rechazaron este miércoles un plan de recortes masivos de la junta fiscal porque, a su juicio, impone condiciones de esclavitud y profundiza la “crisis humanitaria” en la isla, mientras el gobernador Ricardo Rosselló defendió en Washington su plan de reforma de la Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE).

Las protestas organizadas por “VAMOS4PR” en Boston, Nueva York, Hartford, Chicago, Orlando, Seattle y San Juan, coincidieron con el 144 aniversario de la abolición de la esclavitud en Puerto Rico, y con una audiencia legislativa en la capital estadounidense sobre la crisis en la isla.

Aprovechando la fecha, los activistas exigieron un cese a las medidas de austeridad y “romper las cadenas” de una deuda que ahoga a la economía isleña.

En Chicago (Illinois), los activistas exigieron que las autoridades antepongan los intereses del pueblo puertorriqueño a los de los “fondos buitre” que buscan sacar ventaja de la deuda de $72,000 millones de Puerto Rico, en detrimento de las familias trabajadoras.

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Security workers rally for better pay, treatment

B99514710Z.1_20170329135502_000_GOK1DUKUA.1-0The officers gathered outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center alongside members of Service Employees International Union Local 1 for a news conference announcing plans to organize to seek improved standards from the contractors who employ them.

The rally was part of SEIU’s nationwide campaign to join with security workers in the fight for better working conditions. SEIU has already organized groups in Columbus, Chicago and Indianapolis and is working to do so in Milwaukee, said Kathleen Policy, a union representative.

For Detroit, about 300 to 400 security workers contracted by various firms for several buildings downtown, including DTE Energy and the Detroit Medical Center, are signing up to organize with the SEIU local, said the union’s Detroit coordinator, Vas Jacobs.

“They are the first responders and they need better working conditions. We’re trying to get better standards for them. They need better pay, better training and a voice on the job,” he said. “We want to see these changes for these workers. As Detroit is coming back and turning that corner, we need to make sure these neighborhood jobs, like security, also get enhanced and get better working conditions for those workers.”

Workers taking part Wednesday are employed by various contractors, including Advanced Security/USSA, which the SEIU contends has been an “irresponsible” contractor that they have been trying to work with. A representative for Georgia-headquartered U.S. Security Associates could not be immediately reached Wednesday, nor could an official with the Southfield-based Advanced Security offices.

Close to 100 union members, security staff and several Detroit City Council members gathered for the brief rally in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue on Woodward Avenue. The group played music and blew whistles, while some chanted “if we don’t get it, shut it down” and “no justice, no peace.” Others carried signs that read, “Good Jobs Safe Detroit.”

Check out the full story over at Detroit News!

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