Cleveland Janitors & Community Members Rally for Fair Contract

Local 1 members and supporters gather in Cleveland in support of a fair contract.

With their union contract set to expire at the end of April, over 100 janitors and community leaders rallied at the janitors’ contract convention to call on the richest 1% to do their fair share and create good middle class jobs for our city. The convention kicked off the janitors’ contract negotiations, which begin in April and impact more than 500 janitors across the city. Speakers included Local 1 members, Mayor Frank Jackson, City Councilmember Jay Westbrook, and John Ryan on behalf of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.


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Letter to the Mayor – From SEIU Local 1 Members

SEIU Local 1 Members delivered more than 5,300 postcards in support of the Responsible Bidder’s Ordinance. Here is a member reading aloud the letter accompanying the three file boxes full of postcards.

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SEIU Local 1 Janitors Rally for Good Jobs – Three Minute Contract Convention Video

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SEIU Local 1 Janitors Rally for Good Jobs – 10 minute Contract Convention Video

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Protestors hold mock wedding for Kasich and “Corporate Greed” outside banker conference

As executives from some of Ohio’s largest and most profitable banks gathered for their annual Economic Summit on Feb. 15—featuring a keynote address by Governor John Kasich—Columbus janitors and community activists held a mock wedding outside between Governor Kasich and “Corporate Greed.”

Two protestors dressed as a bride and groom professed their “vows” to each other by holding up placards with facts about the devastating effects the partnership between politicians and banks has had on Ohio communities. A crowd of about 20 protestors—including Columbus janitors, OSU students, and members of Occupy Columbus—participated in the mock ceremony.

Bobby Copley, who works as a janitor at Huntington Bank Plaza, says the janitors organized the protest to call attention to rising inequality. “I clean the offices of one of the richest banks in the state,” he says. “I live paycheck to paycheck but I still pay a higher percentage in taxes than these rich bank CEOs do. That’s not right.”

For Ohio janitors, today’s protest sets the stage for a showdown with bankers and other building owners over agreements that create good jobs, boost employment, and help restore balance to our economy. The Columbus janitors’ union contract expires in December. It would take a Columbus janitor more than 1,100 years to make what JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was paid in 2011.

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A Victory for All Workers

Photo courtesy of Debbie Kline, Cleveland Jobs with Justice

November 8th marked a major victory for workers all across the nation, when more than 2 million people voted NO on Issue 2 and repealed Gov. Kasich’s anti-worker Senate Bill 5.

Senate Bill 5 would have stripped Ohio’s public employees—firefighters, teachers, and nurses, among others—of their right to collectively bargain for fair wages and safe staffing levels. The effect of this bill on jobs and communities across the state would have been devastating.

That’s why SEIU Local 1 members joined their sisters and brothers across Ohio in working tirelessly to repeal SB5. Local 1 members helped gather a record number of signatures to get the issue on the ballot and spent weeks educating voters across the state about Senate Bill 5.

By using their citizens’ veto, Ohioans said loud and clear: working families are not punching bags. We did not cause the economic problems in Ohio and you can’t pick our pockets to fix them. This is a victory for the 99%, by the 99%.

The voice of Ohio’s middle class was heard ‘round the nation in November—but only because union members and working people across the state worked together and worked hard.

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Local 1 Fall Member Newsletters – Hot off the Press!

Catch up on news from your state and around Local 1. (Each newsletter is available in multiple languages.)

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Joining National Day of Protest, Columbus Residents Declare an Economic Emergency for the 99% [Progress Ohio.org]


Decaying Bridges are Symbol of Congress’s Failure to Put People Back to Work

Columbus, OH – After votes by Congress to block President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, and on the eve of the Super Committee’s expected recommendations to enact more job-killing budget cuts, unemployed workers and local residents joined protestors nationwide in declaring an “Economic Emergency for the 99%.” Columbus residents marched across the structurally deficient I-71 overpass on East Broad Street today, calling on Congress to create jobs, stop cuts, and make Wall Street banks pay.

The group gathered at The First Congregational Church to hear stories from unemployed and underemployed citizens and then peacefully marched to the overpass to illustrate the “structurally deficient” infrastructure, and others like it, needs work and so do 25 million Americans.

The march was part of a national day of protest at decaying bridges against policies that have enriched the 1% richest Americans and impoverished the 99%. In cities across America people are holding marches and sit-ins at bridges and other sites in need of repair to protest the inaction of Congress, the treatment of Wall Street banks and to demand that Americans be put back to work now. (more…)

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Occupy Cleveland helps prevent foreclosure eviction at West Side home [Plain Dealer]

By Olivera Perkins, The Plain Dealer

Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer: Ben Shapiro of Occupy Cleveland sets up his tent to become part of the “occupation” in the backyard of Elisabeth Sommerer’s house on West 94th Street in Cleveland. The group and some councilmen helped the single mother of two get a 30-day extension from being evicted from her home as part of the foreclosure process. The efforts were part of Occupy Cleveland’s mission to take their message from Public Square into the neighborhoods.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Some Occupy Cleveland members have deserted their Public Square perch to encamp in the back yard of a West Side family who was about to be evicted on Tuesday as a result of foreclosure.

The Occupy Cleveland members said they are taking their message of corporate greed and income inequality into the neighborhoods. The group also said they were willing to try and prevent Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputies from evicting the family — a mother and two young children — from their West 94th Street home.

But in the end, it didn’t come to that. Efforts on the part of a few City Council members and other public officials resulted in the homeowner getting a 30-day extension from the eviction. (more…)

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Potential Right to Work Ballot Issue in Ohio [We Are Ohio Statement]


November 10, 2011
Contact: Melissa Fazekas
Phone: 614-203-2616
Email: mfazekas@weareohio.com

We Are Ohio Statement on Potential Right to Work Ballot Issue in Ohio

Columbus- Today We Are Ohio released the following statement on the potential right to work ballot issue to be placed on the November 2012 ballot in Ohio.

“Just two days ago, Ohioans spoke with one clear and emphatic voice, and voted by an overwhelming margin to support our everyday heroes and their right to collectively bargain,” said Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for We Are Ohio. “Yet, today their voices are already being ignored, even after Governor Kasich and legislative leaders have promised to listen and reflect on Tuesday’s vote. Statistics show that right to work states have lower wages and that right to work endangers the safety and health standards that protect workers on the job. Now is the time to respect Ohio voter’s wishes, stop attacking hardworking Ohioans and focus on much needed job creation. Ohio’s leaders, including the Governor and all legislators who supported Issue 2/Senate Bill 5 should go on the record now denouncing any attempt to circumvent the will of the people.”

We Are Ohio is a citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition that came together to stop Senate Bill 5, the unfair and unsafe law that would have cost our local communities jobs.

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