Press

Contact: press@seiu1.org

Will the Trump Administration Make It Easier for Employers to Steal from Workers?

1484322693668-AP_17012722454013Andy Puzder, Donald Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, comes from an industry where wage theft is troublingly common.

For nearly four years, Oliwia Pac has been working at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, assisting wheelchair users and unaccompanied minors and sometimes providing security services for the airlines. When it comes time to get her paycheck every two weeks, she always worries about what she’ll find. Over the years, she says, the company she works for has often played with her timesheets. For example, if she works overtime at security, a job that pays a base rate of $11.50, she says she’ll find the hours listed under her wheelchair assistant position—which, because it’s a tipped position, pays only $8.75.

When that kind of thing happens, says Pac, who is also an activist with Fight for $15, her managers make excuses. “I heard recently a co-worker who was supposed to be getting 30 hours of overtime didn’t see any of that money,” she told me.

Allegations of wage theft were widespread last year at O’Hare, and airport workers went on strike to protest low pay in November. But the sorts of abuses reported by Pac and her co-workers are common throughout the country—and the Trump administration is unlikely to do much about it.

Read the full story over at VICE!

Comments Off on Will the Trump Administration Make It Easier for Employers to Steal from Workers?

ABC 20/20 Special: My Reality: A Hidden America

ABC 20/20 featured a segment called ‘“My Reality: A Hidden America,’ which focused on low-wage workers, including two SEIU Local 1 higher education faculty members, who are often overlooked in today’s economy. In the episode, Diane Sawyer shadowed workers around the country as they went about their day-to-day routine.

Click here to watch the video and check out the 20/20 segment, which features Local 1 higher ed faculty members at Washington University, as well as Terrence Wise, a Kansas City fast food worker and Stand Up KC Fight for $15 activist.

Comments Off on ABC 20/20 Special: My Reality: A Hidden America

Refugees Who Fled Horrors Now Face Different Struggle In Chicago

extralargeWEST RIDGE — A Rohingya refugee who immigrated to the U.S. two years ago from war-torn Myanmar hoped he would find opportunity and a second chance by settling in Chicago, with a job at O’Hare. Instead, Amir Hussin Bin Mohamadur Rahman has found himself at the center of a workers rights struggle unfolding within Chicago’s labor force.

Rahman, 25, got a job shortly after his arrival in June 2015 with Scrub, Inc., a company that employs workers who clean the cabins of planes after flights.

That relationship ended in late November after Rahman publicly rallied alongside Service Employees International Union members and other airport workers in a one-day strike with the “Fight For $15” minimum wage campaign.

Rahman also spoke out at an employee meeting advocating for Scrub, Inc. workers to unionize, an act he alleges led to his firing.

“The day that he [stood] up in the meeting, talking about ‘Fight For $15’, saying he wants to go on strike, things changed,” said Wahida Rafiq, a translator who Rahman and another Scrub, Inc. worker spoke through in an interview with DNAinfo.

Read the full story over at DNA Info!

Comments Off on Refugees Who Fled Horrors Now Face Different Struggle In Chicago

Kansas City Public Schools janitors vote to join union

KCPS janitorJanitors who work in Kansas City Public Schools have voted to join a union.

The union vote came earlier this month, when 90 custodians elected to join the Service Employees International Union Local 1, which represents more than 300 workers in the district.

The custodians work for the Marcis & Associates janitorial services firm, which earlier this year won a $10 million, three-year contract with the school district.

Union members had supported the district’s decision to give the contract to a new company, saying the previous firm did not recognize union workers and that schools had seen a decline in cleanliness amid understaffing.

Velma Chapman, a custodian at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, said in a statement from the union that the custodians will be better able to care for the schools as members of SEIU Local 1.

“My coworkers and I came together on the job so we could have a voice in keeping KCPS as clean and healthy as possible,” Chapman said.

Read the full story over at the Kansas City Star!

Comments Off on Kansas City Public Schools janitors vote to join union

Columbus janitors ratify new union contract, move toward a living wage

Oct 29It seems that the cleaning companies who employ janitors in Columbus have awakened to a new reality: they are dealing with a fighting union. On December 3 about 750 Columbus janitors ratified a new 3-year contract. Negotiations were concluded much more swiftly than for the previous contract, and the janitors’ employers made significant concessions.

The janitors, who are members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, will receive between $2000 and $3000 more in wages per year over the life of the contract. The contract also strengthens protections for members, including discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity. It also adds funeral leave for the first time.

The cleaning companies probably didn’t want a repeat of 2013, when the janitors organized numerous protests, held rolling strikes in downtown Columbus office buildings, and were arrested during sit-ins at Fifth Third Bank and PNC Bank.

“This contract will allow janitors, who perform difficult and thankless work, the ability to provide for their families and their communities,” said SEIU Local 1 member Diane Hudson. “The increase in pay is significant and that will make a huge difference in my life. As someone who is caring for an aging parent, time is very important to me, but so is knowing that I can afford to pay my bills. The increased wages will allow me to spend more time caring for my mother and doing things with my family.”

Read the full story over at the Columbus Free Press!

Comments Off on Columbus janitors ratify new union contract, move toward a living wage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEIU Local 1 Metro Security Officers Approve Contract to Invest in Chicagoland Communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 18, 2017

SEIU Local 1 Metro Security Officers Approve Contract to Invest in Chicagoland Communities

Metropolitan Security Officers approve contract agreement for more than 7,000 Chicagoland officers

CHICAGO—Metropolitan Security Officers have negotiated and ratified a new three-year contract that will help families invest in their communities and help in creating a better Chicago. While Chicago’s Metro Security Officers protect high-profile sites like University of Chicago, the Chicago Housing Authority, United Airlines in the Willis Tower, and Maggie Daley Park, many officers reside in Chicago’s roughest neighborhoods.

“When contractors in Chicago invest in families, our children and our communities benefit,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “By standing together, Metropolitan Security Officers won a great contract that will benefit Chicagoland for years to come.”

The security officers approved a new union contract with important wage increases while also maintaining health care benefits and more.

More than 7,000 working families will benefit from this historical contract. Together, the officers will bring approximately $25 million into their communities over the three year period, pumping much needed resources into our city’s struggling neighborhoods.

“By sticking together, Metro Security Officers won good raises as well as better benefits,” said Maggie Daley Park Security Officer Idris Amao. “This will give us more opportunities to invest in our communities.”

The new three-year Metro Security Officers’ contract, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017, guarantees:

  • Strengthen health insurance for members while increasing coverage for all officers under agreement
  • Greatly increase wages of officers allowing them to better provide for their families
  • Improve sick leave benefits for officers that allow them to take paid sick leave when they or a member of their family is sick and then need to miss work

###

SEIU Local 1 unites 50,000 property service workers in the Midwest, including security officers, janitors, window washers and residential doormen.  Together we work to build strength for all working people, on the job and in our communities.

Comments Off on FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEIU Local 1 Metro Security Officers Approve Contract to Invest in Chicagoland Communities

Cleveland airport workers, fast food employees to protest for higher minimum wage

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.

Comments Off on Cleveland airport workers, fast food employees to protest for higher minimum wage

Hundreds Of O’Hare Workers Stage 1-Day Walkout: ‘They Treat Us Like Trash’

extralargeO’HARE — A broad coalition of labor groups and political leaders joined more than 400 airport workers to demand higher pay and better working conditions at O’Hare Airport on Tuesday, causing a brief but thundering ruckus as service continued normally inside the terminal.
Hundreds of demonstrators packed the entire walkway between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, chanting slogans and waving signs reading “Poverty Wages Don’t Fly” passed out by uniformed members of the Service Employees International Union.”For a year now, O’Hare workers have been standing up and telling anyone who would listen that they need better wages, they need respect and dignity on the job, and they need a union,” said Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU Local 1, leading off a news conference amid the protest.

Read the full story over at DNA Info.
Comments Off on Hundreds Of O’Hare Workers Stage 1-Day Walkout: ‘They Treat Us Like Trash’

Por $15 la hora cientos de trabajadores se van a huelga en Chicago

Telemundo Airport StrikeCHICAGO- Docenas de personas fueron arrestadas el martes en distintas partes del país cuando participaban en manifestaciones para exigir que el salario mínimo nacional se fije en 15 dólares la hora.

Las protestas estallaron en diversas ciudades, entre ellas Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis y Nueva York. Destacaba la participación de empleados de restaurantes de comida rápida, de empleadas domésticas y de niñeras. En varias ciudades los manifestantes bloquearon el tránsito en las calles.

En Chicago, cientos de manifestantes se aglomeraron frente al Aeropuerto Internacional O’Hare portando carteles y gritando consignas. La policía acordonó un pasillo por el cual los usuarios del aeropuerto podían caminar. Se informó que unos 500 trabajadores del aeropuerto estaban en huelga.

Lee la historia completa en Telemundo Chicago!

Comments Off on Por $15 la hora cientos de trabajadores se van a huelga en Chicago

O’Hare Baggage Handlers Set Strike Date for Tuesday After Thanksgiving

largerO’HARE — Thanksgiving air travelers breathed a sigh of relief as workers at O’Hare International Airport who handle bags, clean jets and help passengers in wheelchairs say they will strike only after the holiday, on Tuesday Nov. 29.

The one-day strike, announced Monday morning at O’Hare, is part of an effort by workers to win a minimum wage of $15 an hour plus added safety measures.

There were fears that the group would strike this week around Thanksgiving, one of the busiest times of the year for airline travel. But workers instead picked the Tuesday after the holiday.

Read the full story over at DNA Info.

Comments Off on O’Hare Baggage Handlers Set Strike Date for Tuesday After Thanksgiving