Thanks to the support of their members, community leaders and allies, Cincinnati and Columbus janitors won a new three year master janitorial contract. The contract was approved by an overwhelming margin on December 3.
The contract, which covers more than 1,300 SEIU Local 1 janitors, increases wages over three years.
Cincinnati and Columbus janitors held a series of events, including protests and a press conference, with record levels of turnout from their members and the community.
The agreement strengthens the union at a time when Right to Work is a possibility in the state, and also demonstrates the union’s solidarity during this challenging time.
“This agreement is proof that when union members stand with one another, they can achieve anything,” said Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1. “The economic gains in this contract will help our members and the Columbus and Cincinnati communities now and over the next three years.”
Workers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport will join workers at airports nationwide at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 29, to advocate for an increase in the minimum wage.
In addition, at 5 p.m. that day, fast food cooks and cashiers, other service industry workers and community allies along with Raise Up Cleveland, a group advocating a $15 an hour minimum wage, will rally in front of the McDonald’s at 3050 Carnegie Ave., according to a release from the Service Employees International Union.
It’s part of a “Fight for $15 day of disruption” that will include protests at nearly 20 major airports; strikes by McDonald’s fast food cooks and cashiers from coast to coast; and demonstrations by baggage handlers and cabin cleaners at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and hospital workers in Pittsburgh.
Read the full story over at Crain’s Cleveland.
Locally, around 75 people marched outside the McDonald’s on Carnegie Avenue in Cleveland.
They are demanding a minimum wage of $15 per hour for workers across the country.
Earlier in the day, airport workers demonstrated at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
They rallied in support of hundreds of airport workers who went on strike at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Read the full story over at Fox 8.
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.
(Chanting) “Fix it, fund it, make it fair.”
Cleveland resident Sandra Ellington says many low income people who depend on buses can’t afford the $85 dollar pass she buys each month just to ride.
“We live in one of the richest countries in the world. There is no excuse for this. We have got to figure out a way. We can’t do it on the backs of the working poor. That’s unacceptable in my book.”
The research, from Florida Atlantic University, says families without sick-leave benefits, including those with children, are twice as likely to delay health-care treatment.
Working mother Carzella McGlothin of Cleveland says she worries about the spread of illness when people come to work instead of staying home when they’re sick.
And because she doesn’t have paid sick time, she loses money when she stays home to care for a sick child.
“A parent needs to be with their kids when they’re sick, because we know what they’re going through instead of putting it all on other people to watch our kids while we’re at work and they’re sick,” says McGlothin. “My family, we all pull together, but it’s kind of hard because everybody works. So, it’s a tough cookie trying to get it together.”
The study found people in low-wage jobs without benefits are most vulnerable, and sick workers are also more prone to injuries and making mistakes.
Only four states, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon, require employers to offer paid sick-time benefits.