Press

Contact: press@seiu1.org

SEIU Local 1 Endorses Green New Deal

SEIU Local 1 Endorses Green New Deal

The janitors, custodians, airport workers, security officers and other working people of Local 1 urge elected leaders to take swift, bold action on climate change


CHICAGO – The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff regarding SEIU Local 1’s endorsement of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) Green New Deal resolution:

“I’m happy to announce that SEIU Local 1 has endorsed the Green New Deal. Local 1 members are serious about taking decisive action to address the imminent danger of climate change, because no matter our background or where we come from, all working families want healthy communities in which they can thrive.

“As a union representing more than 50,000 working people, a majority of whom are women, immigrants and people of color, in 11 cities across the Midwest, we are committed to the fight for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice.

“Local 1 members live in frontline communities disproportionately impacted by the threats and harms of climate change, environmental injustices and income inequality. That is why Local 1 urges our elected leaders to not delay in taking bold action to reduce carbon emissions, switch to renewable energies, create good union jobs and provide a just transition for workers and communities impacted by the decline of fossil fuels.”

Comments Off on SEIU Local 1 Endorses Green New Deal

SEIU Illinois State Council Cheers Toni Preckwinkle’s Plan to Push for $15 Minimum Wage in Chicago by 2021

CHICAGO – The SEIU Illinois State Council applauds Toni Preckwinkle’s plan to push for a $15 minimum wage for Chicago working families by 2021.

Under Preckwinkle’s proposal, the minimum wage will increase by 50 cents every six months before reaching $15 by July 2021. The plan also calls for the Chicago Office of Labor Standards, which is currently in formation, to review the city’s minimum wage on a yearly basis and propose additional minimum wage hikes, if necessary.

“While other candidates fail to commit to a timeline on the issue, Toni Preckwinkle’s bold plan to raise Chicago’s minimum wage to $15 by 2021 proves that she is the true progressive in the race for mayor,” said SEIU Local 1 member Michael Ortiz, a wheelchair attendant at Midway Airport. “A $15 citywide minimum wage will help hundreds of thousands of working people across the city build a better future for ourselves, our families and our communities.”

Comments Off on SEIU Illinois State Council Cheers Toni Preckwinkle’s Plan to Push for $15 Minimum Wage in Chicago by 2021

SEIU Local 1 Celebrates Tony Evers’ Gubernatorial Victory

Evers is a progressive champion who will fight for Wisconsin’s working families 

MILWAUKEE – The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 janitor Amicar Zapata, who works at U.S. Bank Center in Milwaukee, regarding governor-elect Tony Evers’ victory in Wisconsin:

“The working people of SEIU Local 1 are proud to support and congratulate governor-elect Tony Evers on his election victory. SEIU members called and texted thousands of Wisconsinites and knocked on more than 20,000 doors prior to the election to help ensure his win.

“While the greedy few are trying to divide working people against each other and take away our healthcare protections, we can count on Tony to bring us together and safeguard our healthcare. The anti-worker era of Scott Walker is over, and the Badger State is ready to turn the page.

“We look forward to working alongside governor-elect Evers to advance policies and public services that put the interests of working people first, whether white, Black, or brown.”

Comments Off on SEIU Local 1 Celebrates Tony Evers’ Gubernatorial Victory

SEIU Local 1 Celebrates Gretchen Whitmer’s Gubernatorial Victory

SEIU Local 1 Celebrates Gretchen Whitmer’s Gubernatorial Victory

Whitmer is a progressive champion who will fight for Michigan’s working families

DETROIT – The following is a statement from SEIU Local 1 Little Caesars Arena janitor Kris Sherman-Burns regarding Gretchen Whitmer’s gubernatorial victory in Michigan. Local 1 members sent more than 3,000 texts and knocked 10,000 doors in coordination with the One Michigan Campaign:

“SEIU Local 1 members are proud to support and congratulate Gretchen Whitmer on being elected the next governor of Michigan.

“Ahead of the election, Local 1 members reached out to thousands of voters to let them know governor-elect Whitmer supports a $15 living wage and unions for all working families. Clearly, that message resonated across Michigan.

“We look forward to working alongside governor-elect Whitmer in our fight for One Detroit, in which the interests of working people, whether white, Black, or brown, are put first.”

Comments Off on SEIU Local 1 Celebrates Gretchen Whitmer’s Gubernatorial Victory

Window Washers, Chicago’s Real Life Skyline Superheroes, Continue Industry-Wide Strike for a Better Future for their Kids with Family Rally at Millennium Park

Window Washers, Children Dressed in Superhero Costumes to Rally at Millennium Park to Urge Corporate Services CEO to Invest in Chicago’s Communities

CHICAGO – SEIU Local 1 window washers, joined by their families, will continue their strike Tuesday at Millennium Park in superhero costumes. They will rally with their children and march downtown as part of their fight for a strong new contract that includes fair wages and benefits for the treacherous work they do.

Every year, Chicago’s window washers scale Lurie Children’s Hospital in superhero costumes to brighten the days of the children patients at the hospital. Now, they are fighting for the future of their kids.

As part of their job, Chicago window washers hang hundreds of feet in the air and put their lives on the line to clean iconic buildings like Trump Tower, the Willis Tower and 875 N. Michigan. But window washers are struggling to get by on low wages and a healthcare policy that forces many to rely on public assistance.

Our city’s window washers are on strike since Monday, July 2nd. They will not go back to work until their employers, like Corporate Cleaning Services, sit down at the table and bargain in good faith.

WHAT: Chicago window washers Superhero family rally with children, costumes,

WHEN: Tuesday, July 10 at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Millennium Park, Cloud Gate, 201 E. Randolph Street, Chicago.

WHO: Hundreds of SEIU Local 1 window washers, their children, community allies

VISUALS: Striking Window Washers in costume: Spiderman, Batman, Robin, Captain America and others. Children in superhero capes. Blown up posters of skyline views taken hundreds of feet in the air by window washers on the job.  Window washers in uniform chanting, holding signs, rallying at Cloud Gate. Children chanting.

BACKGROUND: Window washing is an important and historic family industry in Chicago, yet many workers struggle to make ends meet on wages as low as $11 cleaning the skyscrapers of billion-dollar corporations. Window washers cannot afford employer-provided healthcare, with many of their families forced to rely on public assistance just to have health coverage.

While billion-dollar buildings like Trump Tower enjoy massive tax breaks, the window washers who scale them are barely making ends meet. Meanwhile, in other markets like New York, window washers start at $21 and enjoy employer-provided healthcare, giving them the ability to support their families and communities. Chicago window washers deserve the same opportunity.

# # #

 

Comments Off on Window Washers, Chicago’s Real Life Skyline Superheroes, Continue Industry-Wide Strike for a Better Future for their Kids with Family Rally at Millennium Park

Toledo Janitors and Community Allies Join Nationwide ‘Justice for Janitors’ Rallies

TOLEDO – Dozens of SEIU Local 1 janitors and their community allies, including Ohio State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Democratic Toledo City Councilman Nick Komives, rallied Thursday afternoon to mark the 28th anniversary of the Justice for Janitors movement and demand good jobs at the PNC Bank Building.

Janitors and their allies, including building tenants, rallied outside the PNC Bank Building, 405 Madison Ave., to urge property management company ZAK Properties, an affiliate of Five Lakes Global Group,to support good jobs in Toledo by using a janitorial contractor that provides decent wages, quality benefits and union rights.

Good jobs at the PNC Bank Building will improve the lives of workers, contribute to the prosperity of Toledo’s neediest communities and bring clear benefits to the building owner and manager, including high-quality service and low turnover. ZAK Properties can support our communities by simply using a janitorial contractor that allows better job security, affordable benefits and gives the janitors a voice on the job.

“We won’t stand down until ZAK Properties honors good jobs,” said George White, SEIU Local 1 executive board member and janitor at Seaway Building Services in Toledo. “Low-wage jobs do not allow hardworking families to afford basic life necessities like groceries, rent and keeping the lights and heat on. Paying workers decent wages would allow them to support their local economies and, in turn, revitalize communities and neighborhoods.”

Janitors from across Ohio, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Akron, joined the Toledo action, which was one of many similar Justice for Janitors events happening across the country.  In remembrance of the original campaign, SEIU janitors take action in events nationwide each week of June 15.

Comments Off on Toledo Janitors and Community Allies Join Nationwide ‘Justice for Janitors’ Rallies

SEIU Local 1 St. Louis Lambert Janitors Win at Board of E & A

Janitors urge Airport Commission to pick cleaning contractor working people, passengers and taxpayers can trust 

ST. LOUIS: The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 St. Louis Lambert Janitor Lasean Smith in response to the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment vote today against awarding a $13.5 million contract to irresponsible contractor ATALIAN Global Services and its local affiliate, Centaur Building Services:

“By coming together and speaking out for good jobs and standards at our airport, Local 1 St. Louis Lambert janitors won a big victory today.

“We are glad that our elected leaders agree: A company that has a history of racial discrimination has no place at a world-class airport like St. Louis Lambert.

“The janitors of St. Louis Lambert urge the Airport Commission to pick a responsible cleaning contractor who will ensure working people have a voice on the job. Doing so will make sure our airport is an economic engine for our entire city.”

BACKGROUND: Last month, the Riverfront Times outlined how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found “reasonable cause to believe” ATALIAN affiliate Centaur Building Services violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act after discharging an employee, an African-American woman, due to her race. Despite this, on May 3, the St. Louis Lambert Airport Commission voted to award the contract to the company.

###

Service Employees International Union Local 1 unites 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest including nearly 10,000 commercial janitors, higher education faculty, food service workers, state workers in the Division of Probation and Parole, school custodians, patient care professionals, and more in Missouri. Local 1 is committed to improving the lives of its members and all working people by winning real economic justice and standing at the forefront of the fight for immigrant, racial and environmental justice.

 

Comments Off on SEIU Local 1 St. Louis Lambert Janitors Win at Board of E & A

Hundreds of Chicago Window Washers Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike

Potential strike could occur anytime after June 30

CHICAGO – SEIU Local 1 window washers, joined by Chicago Latino Caucus Chairman Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) outside Trump Tower, announced Monday afternoon they have voted overwhelmingly to strike, if necessary. A strike could occur anytime after their current collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30.

“Any strike we have would disrupt the industry for the entire season,” said Cruz Guzman, a Chicago window washer with Service One. “We’re ready to do whatever it takes to help support our families, even go on strike. Because too many of us are barely making ends meet. We’re asking our employers: come to the table and offer us a fair wage for the dangerous work we do. And we’re asking the people of Chicago to support us.”

Every day, Chicago window washers hang hundreds of feet in the air and put their lives on the line to clean iconic buildings like Trump Tower, the Willis Tower and 875 N. Michigan but are struggling on low wages and a healthcare policy that forces many to rely on public assistance.

“The working people who do some of the most dangerous work in our city should not struggle to make ends meet. Their families should not be forced to rely on public assistance for healthcare,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “That’s why window washers are demanding a fair raise and a better healthcare plan to help them support their families and communities.”

Window washing is an important and historic family industry in Chicago, yet many workers struggle to make ends meet on wages as low as $11 cleaning the skyscrapers of billion-dollar corporations. Window washers cannot afford employer-provided healthcare, with many of their families forced to rely on public assistance just to have health coverage.

While billion-dollar buildings like Trump Tower enjoy massive tax breaks, the window washers who scale them are barely making ends meet. Meanwhile, in other markets like New York, window washers start at $21 and enjoy employer-provided healthcare, giving them the ability to support their families and communities. Chicago window washers deserve the same opportunity.

Comments Off on Hundreds of Chicago Window Washers Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike

Washington University Graduate Student Workers Rally at Distinguished Alumni Event

Washington University Graduate Student Workers Rally at Distinguished Alumni Event

Living with uncertainty, graduate workers kick off series of actions

ST. LOUIS – With only 23 days until graduation, Washington University graduate workers, students, faculty and community allies rallied at the University’s 2018 Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner on Wednesday, April 25. The rally, which is part of a series of planned events leading up to graduation, raised awareness of issues facing the entire Washington University community — and specifically graduate workers, who are students at the University.

While the administration reached out to graduate workers just before the rally to announce guaranteed funding for summer work, nothing is guaranteed and graduate workers request to sit down with administration to discuss specific implementation.

“I am joining together with my colleagues to join in the fight for better funding because of the outsized impact that our inconsistent pay has on international graduate students like myself,” said Augusto Medeiros, PhD Candidate, Physics. “As international students, we are completely reliant on the university to support us because our F1 visas do not permit us to work outside the university. Because of this, international students face the possibility of being forced to return home, pause our research, and face undue hardship simply because our nationality.”

With summer looming, graduate workers are not yet guaranteed they will be paid for work done during those months. Graduate workers cannot afford to go another summer living without pay while still being expected to work and produce research for the university.

“WashU refuses to guarantee pay over the summer even though our research doesn’t stop in June and July; when they do come through with payment, it’s not enough to live on,” said JB Duck-Mayr, a graduate worker in the Political Science department. “That means throughout the year I have to work extra hourly gigs to make sure I can support my family, which takes away time from my research, my students, and my children. A university with $12 Billion in assets should be able to guarantee a living wage to its workers twelve months of the year. WashU administrators have refused to meet with us about these issues, so that’s why I’m protesting with WUGWU to make our voices heard by the university administration.”

This uncertain future is why graduate workers and their supporters are standing up to build power on campus and resistance through events over the next several weeks, including this rally.

“I am taking action to guarantee summer funding and dignified funding year round for grad workers because it is wrong that I make less than $900 a month and receive no pay during the summer at a $12 billion university,” said Sarah Crosley, a teaching assistant in Classics. “I have made more money working as a kindergarten teacher reading books to toddlers in the summer than I do teaching undergrads who pay $50,000 a year to attend WashU.”

Graduate workers, along with their supporters in SEIU Local 1 and the wider community, will continue to fight for power at work and on campus and look forward to making meaningful improvements at Washington University. SEIU Local 1 has been working with graduate workers, 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.

Comments Off on Washington University Graduate Student Workers Rally at Distinguished Alumni Event

Chicago Public Schools Custodians Reach Historic Agreement with CPS

CPS Agrees to Hire More Custodians and Reevaluate Conditions Quarterly, Hold Contractors Accountable

CHICAGO – More than 1,700 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) custodians reached a historic agreement Thursday with CPS. For the first time in history, CPS custodians have a say in their working conditions and school cleanliness. Historically, CPS adopts the standards set forth by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). This year, additional demands of higher staffing were made with CPS cleaning contractors.

After cleaning contractors refused to guarantee custodians the resources to keep schools clean and healthy for students and teachers causing bargaining to break down, CPS stepped in to have productive conversations around the contract, ultimately agreeing to hire more custodians and to hold cleaning contractors accountable.

“Over the last few years, CPS cleaning contractors like Aramark have continued to cut corners to increase their bottom line, while custodians have been working harder and harder with less,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “We appreciate the intervention of CPS and look forward to a strong new partnership in, which schools are  clean and healthy places for students to learn, grow and thrive.”

CPS will hire an additional 200 custodians to deep clean schools over the 2018 summer break and hire an additional 100 full-time employees following that period. CPS has also agreed to meet with Local 1 custodians on a quarterly basis to assess school conditions and ensure standards are being met.

The 1,700 CPS custodians plan to meet Saturday morning to discuss the latest BOMA and CPS contract updates.

Comments Off on Chicago Public Schools Custodians Reach Historic Agreement with CPS