Ohio

Janitors, community groups, and faith leaders to release report on poverty in Cincinnati at rally

***** News Advisory for Monday, October 29th *****

Contact: Leslie Mendoza Kamstra 773-896-7815 or mendozal@seiu1.org

As Cincinnati janitors and cleaning companies resume contract talks…

Janitors, community groups, and faith leaders to release report on poverty in Cincinnati at rally

CINCINNATI| On Monday, Cincinnati janitors and their employers, cleaning companies, will resume contract talks for the first time since last month. Meanwhile, faith leaders and community groups will release a report along with janitors on poverty in Cincinnati during a large rally downtown. The report, entitled “The State of Our Downtown,” was co-authored by SEIU Local 1, The AMOS Project, Ohio Prophetic Voices, and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative.

The report explores issues of rising poverty, hunger, and wealth disparity in our city with janitors at its center. Despite cleaning the headquarters of some of the biggest and richest companies in the country, full time janitors in Cincinnati are paid less than $18,000 a year—below the poverty level for a family. Cincinnati’s poverty rate is steadily rising, even as unemployment in our city is going down. The report posits that this is because an increasing number of jobs in our city pay very low wages that trap working families in a cycle of poverty.

Janitors are calling on Cincinnati’s big banks and Fortune 500 companies to do their part to alleviate poverty in our city by creating good jobs and paying workers fair wages.


WHAT:       Janitors and faith leaders release a report on poverty in Cincinnati entitled “The State of Our Downtown” at large downtown rally

WHEN:        Monday, October 29th / 3:45 PM

WHERE:     Meet at Fountain Square (near the corner of 5th and Vine)

End location of march TBD

WHO:            More than 100 Cincinnati janitors and community supporters, including members of the AMOS Project, Ohio  Prophetic Voices, and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative

 

 

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City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld to Meet with Cincinnati Janitors, Call on Corporations to Support Good Jobs for our City

***** News Advisory for Monday, October 15th *****

Contact: Leslie Mendoza Kamstra 773-896-7815 or mendozal@seiu1.org

City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld to Meet with Cincinnati Janitors, Call on Corporations to Support Good Jobs for our City

CINCINNATI—On Monday, October 15th, City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld will meet with Cincinnati janitors in their homes to discuss the growing problem of low wage jobs and their detrimental effects on Cincinnati’s communities.

Commercial office janitors who are employed by cleaning contractors are in the process of bargaining a new union contract that will ensure fair wages and a path to the middle class for their families. Despite the fact that they clean the headquarters of some of the biggest and most profitable corporations in the country, the average full time janitor in Cincinnati is paid less than $18,000 a year—below the poverty level and not nearly enough to support a family.

The growing gap between the 1% and the 99% has become a pressing political issue as the number of low wage jobs increases, the middle class shrinks and corporations refuse to pay their share of taxes, create good jobs, and reward the hard work of their employees. Councilmember Sittenfeld will meet with the janitors to hear their stories and to offer his support for their fight to restore good jobs to our city and balance to our economy.

WHO:                 Several Cincinnati janitors and their family members

WHAT:               Discussion of low wage jobs in Cincinnati and their detrimental effects on our communities

WHEN:                Monday, October 15th

4:00 PM

WHERE:            At Cincinnati janitor Dina Smith’s home

Address: 2085 Millvale Court, Cincinnati, OH 45225

BACKGROUND:             In 2006, Cincinnati janitors organized a union for the first time. The contract they negotiated with cleaning contractors raised standards in the commercial cleaning industry and forged a path out of poverty for more than 1,000 janitors and their families.

Janitors and representatives from cleaning companies began negotiations for a new contract in September. The final offer presented by contractors at the end of last month would freeze wages, strip hard-won full-time hour guarantees away from hundreds of workers, and threaten janitors’ access to affordable health care. Both parties agreed to extend the contract one month. The contract now expires on November 1st. Janitors and representatives from cleaning companies will resume bargaining on October 29th.

 

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Cincinnati janitors and supporters take their fight for good jobs to Fifth Third’s doorstep

***** For Immediate Release *****

Contact: Leslie Mendoza Kamstra 773-896-7815 or mendozal@seiu1.org

As Cincinnati janitors and cleaning companies continue contract talks…

Cincinnati janitors and supporters take their fight for good jobs to Fifth Third’s doorstep
CINCINNATI| As Cincinnati janitors and their employers, cleaning companies, entered their third day of contract negotiations, about 100 janitors and community supporters marched through downtown and held a rally outside the Fifth Third Center. Fifth Third is one of many profitable Cincinnati-based corporations whose offices are cleaned by members of SEIU Local 1.

Despite cleaning the headquarters of some of the biggest and richest companies in the country, full time janitors in Cincinnati are paid less than $18,000 a year—below the poverty level and not nearly enough to support a family. Cincinnati is home to 10 Fortune 500 companies, including Procter and Gamble, Macy’s, Fifth Third Bancorp, and Western and Southern Financial.

“We clean the headquarters of companies that are making millions and millions of dollars,” says Dwayne Jefferson, a janitor employed by Scioto at the Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services building. “But the wealth isn’t ‘trickling down’ to our neighborhoods. The only way we are going to beat back poverty and crime in our city is by creating good jobs. And that’s not going to happen unless we stand up and fight.”

While Cincinnati’s wealthiest companies made almost $17 billion in profit last year, our city’s poverty rate continued to rise.  Cincinnati currently has the 3rd highest child poverty rate in the nation. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week that a staggering 70 percent of Cincinnati Public Schools’ 33,000 students live in poverty.

“We need to build a city that rewards hard work at every level, for every person,” said City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld, who spoke at the janitors’ rally. “Children all across Cincinnati are going to bed hungry, in large part because their parents’ jobs don’t pay a living wage. We all need to take responsibility for the problem of poverty in our communities. That’s what the Cincinnati janitors are doing here today, and I’m proud to stand with them.”

In 2006, Cincinnati janitors organized a union for the first time. The contract they negotiated with cleaning contractors raised standards in the commercial cleaning industry and forged a path out of poverty for more than 1,000 janitors and their families. This contract expires on October 1st. Janitors and representatives from cleaning companies began negotiations for a new contract earlier this month.

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Volunteer for Election 2012

When I was in college, I suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Fortunately, I had health insurance through school and got the care I needed. After I graduated, I was denied insurance by every major carrier because of my preexisting condition. Even the state program was too expensive for me to afford.

But when Obama helped pass the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. Now I have good health insurance with affordable premiums. I’m able to go see my doctor without worrying if I can afford it.

I want to thank President Obama for standing up for people like me, so I am volunteering with SEIU Local 1 to help re-elect President Barack Obama.

You can help too! Volunteer with SEIU Local 1 to make sure OUR voices are heard this election. Call the Member Resource Center: 877-233-8880.

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The Poverty Tour 2.0: Ohio

Smiley and West: Highlights from the Poverty Tour 2.0

Highlights from the first stop on The Poverty Tour 2.0 in Cleveland, OH with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Cleveland City Councilman Brian Cummins, Justice for Janitors organizers Laurie Couch and Sandra Ellington, Chris Cooper from Kent State University’s Ohio Employee Ownership Center, Green Clean Co-op worker-owner Mary Vel Vera, and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

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Support growing for Anna Louise Inn [WXIX Fox 19]

Click here to view the full article and video

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) – Protesters took to the streets of Cincinnati Saturday in support of the Anna Louise Inn.

The owners of the historic facility, Cincinnati Union Bethel, are in a fight with Western and Southern Financial Group which wants to take over the property.

Last month a Hamilton county judge ruled that the city’s zoning board of appeals erred in its decision to OK a zoning permit and ordered the matter be sent back to the city for administrative review.

Mother Paula Jackson, pastor of the Church of Our Savior is one of a growing number of community activists who are getting involved in the struggle for the Anna Louise Inn’s survival. She says she’s happy to see more and more people who will stand up for justice.

“Them ladies over there are working to improve themselves, but Western and Southern is taking dollar signs and going like this over the government’s head,” said Deanna Smith with SEIU labor union.

Josh Spring with the Cincinnati Homeless Coalition says Western and Southern is motivated by greed. “Despite the fact that they have billions of dollars they want to take more money from your pockets and my pockets and our neighbors’ pockets. They want to force women out of their homes so that they can put sky rise condos here they want more money. They want to take from us and they don’t want to give back and it’s not ok. We call it thievery, we call it lying, we call it stealing we call it wrong,” said Spring.

Spring says Western and Southern’s efforts to take over the property amounts to intimidation. “Western and Southern is a big bully. They are pushing around, they are attempting to push around the women of the Anna Louise Inn,” said Spring.

Women are provided with long term housing and some of them are leaving a life of prostitution.

Westerns and Southern argues the Anna Louise Inn is a homeless shelter and doesn’t conform with zoning laws, but Spring says the Anna Louise Inn provides a necessary service. “We believe that we need affordable housing and we need good living wage sustainable employment, that’s how we prevent homelessness. We want to see less people experiencing the hardship of homelessness. We need to push back on Western and Southern and say no way.”

In the meantime plans for a $13 million renovation of the Anna Louise Inn are on hold.

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Ohio Members Gather Ahead of International Convention

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry met with members and staff from Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati who are preparing for the International Convention in Denver. These janitors will be representing themselves and their fellow members during the event the week of May 27th.

From left to right: Bobby Copley, Columbus; Carla Nugeness, Columbus; Oscar Ibert, Columbus organizer; Liliana Castillo, Columbus organizer; Mary Kay Henry, SEIU International President; Sandra Ellington, Cleveland; Ruby Ingram, Toledo.

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Local 1 Member Newsletters – Spring 2012

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

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A Victory for Cleveland Janitors


Our Cleveland bargaining committee reached an agreement with business owners for a new three-year contract (May 1, 2012 – April 30, 2015). The contract includes improvements in wages, health care, and pension benefits.

“I feel good about the agreement we came to. We protected our health care and pensions and won better wages,” says Joyce Rivers, a janitor who works at Key Tower. “For working people in Cleveland, a little more money can help a whole lot.”

On Saturday, April 28, janitors held a ratification meeting at the Cleveland SEIU Local 1 office. The janitors in attendance voted unanimously to accept the new contract.

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Cleveland Janitors Rally for Good Jobs, Fair Contract [19 Action News]

Cleveland Local 1 janitors and community supporters gathered March 31, 2012 to rally for good jobs. They called on the wealthiest 1% of Americans to do their part and create jobs for a city that needs them. (Read more here.)
Video via 19 Action News.

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