Hundreds of workers at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport spent Tuesday on strike to protest low wages, but officials said it had little impact on flight operations.
The strike, organized by the Service Employees International Union Local 1, involved baggage handlers, janitors, airplane cabin cleaners and wheelchair attendants, many of whom convened for a rally in front of the airport at noon to call for a $15 minimum wage and union rights. Including supporters, the crowd swelled to 1,100, one police officer estimated.
“We’re not asking for special treatment, we’re asking for decent treatment,” Kisha Rivera, 41, who has worked as an airplane cabin cleaner for four months and makes the city’s $10.50 a hour minimum wage, told the cheering crowd. She later corrected herself: “We’re not asking, we’re demanding.”
Read the full story over at the Chicago Tribune.
Union activists are working with college students, faculty and staff – including at Washington University and Saint Louis University – to educate and energize voters for the November 8 general election.
“Candidates on all levels – federal, state or local – need to address the high cost of tuition so students are debt free and able to pursue their dreams,” said Cody Burleson, a graduate worker at Washington University in St. Louis. “Candidates can lock in the college vote by standing with us to restore the promise of higher education.”
Events were held on both Washington University and Saint Louis University’s campuses last week to highlight these issues with the goal of reaching more than one million voters in 16 states. At 50 campuses this fall, organizers said, thousands of professors and graduate assistants will be knocking on doors, phone banking and convening voter information sessions to educate campus goers on key issues like debt-free college and better pay for students and faculty.
Activists from Service Employees International Union Local 1 – which represents nearly 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest – are coordinating with student assistants, faculty, alumni and community allies at 50 campuses across the country on what the call “GOTV U Pledge Week.”
Diane Hudson wants a new union contract that will bring her family out of poverty. She works as a janitor at the Columbus Academy, a private PreK-12 school in Gahanna. Hudson supports her elderly mother and struggles every month to make ends meet. A living wage would mean “we don’t have to be under so much stress, living paycheck to paycheck,” she said.
On October 29 hundreds of janitors held a rally at the Great American Tower in Cincinnati to kick off contract negotiations. The new contracts will affect 1,800 members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 in central and southern Ohio, including 800 janitors who work in the Columbus area. The current Columbus contract, which expires December 31, covers janitors who clean the offices of Columbus’ largest companies, including Nationwide, Huntington, JP Morgan Chase, and AEP.
Benefits are also an issue for Diane Hudson. “I’d like to get paid for PTO time,” she said. “Often when I put in for it, it’s denied. We also need a better health plan.” Hudson is not on her company’s insurance plan because she cannot afford the high premiums. “It would mean a great deal to me to be able to go to the doctor when I need to,” she said.
Hudson’s employer is Scioto Services, a cleaning company that contracts janitorial services to the Columbus Academy. Full-time tuition at Columbus Academy ranges from $17,500 to $25,000 a year. Its annual operating budget is $25.7 million.
The “Fight for 15” movement is alive and well in the state of Illinois. SEIU Local 1 Metropolitan Chicago security officers, who secure high-profile sites like the University of Chicago, the Chicago Housing Authority, United Airlines in the Willis Tower, and Maggie Daley Park, were joined by Second District Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL) to kick off their contract campaign to reduce violence and improve safety in the Chicagoland area. The sad truth is that median wage for a Metro security officer is $11.25 an hour, just over $23,000 annually. Officers earn as little as $9.40 an hour, or $19,000 annually. These low wages leave many Metro officers trapped in struggling neighborhoods.
President of SEIU Local 1, Tom Balanoff, says that a higher wage for security pays off in higher dividends to the community in the form of helping working families and keeping communities safer.
Congresswoman Kelly calls it “fighting the right kind of fight.” Her friend and House of Representatives colleagues, the legendary John Lewis, would call this fight “good trouble.” The contract will cover 6,000 Chicagoland security officers across Cook County, many of whom live in our area’s roughest neighborhoods. Congresswoman Kelly says, “That’s a fight for a better contract and for a fair wage for you to take care of your families.”
Service Employee International Union Local 1 filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against three contractors for what they call widespread violations Monday. Both the union and Congressman Luis Gutierrez are calling for an investigation.
The major airlines operating at O’Hare International Airport should make sure their contractors aren’t ripping off low-level workers such as janitors and baggage handlers. It’s the right thing to do.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel also should see to it that workers, including airplane cabin cleaners, aren’t being forced to work through breaks, start work early and stay late — with no pay for those hours. He should demand that wheelchair attendants be brought to minimum wage when tips don’t get them there.
Some nonunion workers who say companies are skimming wages filed complaints with the Illinois Department of Labor and the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The latter oversees enforcement of Chicago’s $10.50 minimum wage. The Service Employees International Union Local 1, which wants to unionize the workers, is leading the effort.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2016
CONTACT Nick Desideri email@example.com 630-779-5510
KANSAS CITY, MO – The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 janitor Doris Williams:
“In March, Secretary of State Kander stood with 900 Kansas City janitors as we fought for a living wage. By coming together, we were able to win a strong contract that will help us provide for our families.
“Now, we’re proud to stand with him as he campaigns for the U.S. Senate. He has proven he is on the side of working families like mine.
“The janitors, maintenance mechanics, stadium workers, and adjunct professors of SEIU Local 1 will work hard to get out the vote for Jason in November, and we look forward to working with him after his victory.”
SEIU Local 1 unites nearly 50,000 working people across the Midwest including more than 3,000 in Kansas City. Local 1 in Kansas City represents a wide array of working people, including school cafeteria workers, maintenance mechanics at Kauffman Stadium, industrial workers, and commercial janitors.
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Thursday, March 31st, 2016
CONTACT: Leesa Allmond firstname.lastname@example.org 405-820-5622
After Carrier and UTEC Outsource Thousands of Indy Jobs to Mexico ….
SEIU Local 1 Indy Janitors Joined by City-County Councillor Jared Evans and Community Allies to Call on Zeller to Support Good Jobs
Indianapolis— On Thursday, March 31st, SEIU Local 1 members, community supporters, City-County Councillor Jared Evans will protest in front of Market Tower in downtown Indianapolis to call on Chicago-based Zeller Realty to support good jobs. The rally comes on the heels of Carrier and UTEC moving over 2,000 jobs out of Indy and to Mexico.
Companies like Zeller Realty, who currently use janitorial contractor CCS (Corporate Cleaning Systems), contribute to a record high number of Hoosiers living in poverty as well as growth in poverty, child poverty and low-income individuals in Indiana since 2007 beyond all neighbor states and the U.S. average.1 The median income in Indiana has also continued to decline since 2000 as Indiana has lost a high number of mid-wage and high-wage jobs.
Indy workers and allies rallying downtown are linking Indy’s struggle for healthy economic development with Zeller’s use of a janitorial contractor that does not create quality jobs. They’re calling on Zeller to replace CCS with a contractor that provides decent wages, quality benefits, as well as union rights, which will then, in turn, contribute to the prosperity of Indy’s neediest communities.
WHAT: Rally to hold Zeller responsible for creating good jobs in Indy
WHEN: Thursday, March 31st at 3:15 p.m.
WHERE: Market Tower, 10 W. Market St Indianapolis, IN 46204
WHO: Dozens of SEIU Local 1 members and Community Supporters, City-County Councillor Jared Evans
VISUALS: Janitors and supporters rallying and chanting with signs and noise-makers in front of Market Tower in downtown Indianapolis.
1 (The Status of Working Families in Indiana: 2015 Report: http://www.incap.org/iiwf/2015-Status/2015-Status-IIWF-high-res.pdf)
2 (Citations: OSHA Inspection #:312892227 – 04/16/2010- 04/16/2010 – Issuance Date: 05/13/2010)
CHARLES COMMUNITY COLLEGE ADJUNCT PROFESSORS VOTE FOR BETTER FUTURE WITH SEIU LOCAL 1
Adjuncts vote to join together for higher wages, benefits
LOUIS, Mo. – St. Charles Community College adjunct faculty voted on Thursday, March 3, to have a voice on the job by joining Service Employees International Union Local 1. The 332 eligible faculty members will join with thousands of other part-time, non-tenure track instructors and faculty members around the country who have voted to organize for a voice on the job.
“Tonight the faculty majority at St. Charles Community College have changed from itinerate workers to empowered professionals,” said Diana Nash, English professor. “We are joining SEIU Local 1 and the adjunct faculties at St. Louis Community College and Washington University to win the respect that all educators deserve. We look forward to negotiating for job security, higher pay, and benefits.”
Among the issues raised by these faculty members are the low wages, lack of benefits and unpredictable scheduling.
“I know that my fellow colleagues want to help create a stronger community and make sure adjuncts get the recognition we deserve for the work we do,” said Lisa Butler, Sociology professor. “If a college wants to keep their best educators and add the highest quality new hires, we have to have competitive wages that reflect the quality of an instructors work and contribution to a college.”
SEIU Local 1 has been working with college and university professors throughout the Midwest to give them a voice on the job; address the low compensation for their work; and to ensure greater benefits and job security. Over the past year, adjunct professors at Washington University and St. Louis Community College voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Local 1 and are currently bargaining their first contract, and others around the Midwest are also working to organize.
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Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites nearly 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest. SEIU janitors, security officers, food service workers, and others are working with community leaders to advocate for the quality services the public deserves and the good jobs our communities need.
The protest was part of a coordinated campaign across the country to draw attention to low wages.
Workers are demanding $15 an hour and the right to unionize.