As Detroit-area janitors set out to bargain a new union contract that affects 1,500 workers and their families…


DETROIT –Hundreds of SEIU Local 1 janitors kicked off contract negotiations today by rallying for good jobs downtown Detroit.  They rallied at the New Center One Building, the Fisher Building and Albert Kahn.

“We want a Detroit that is thriving and successful for everyone,” SEIU Local 1 Michigan State Coordinator Jennifer Disla said. “Workers must have a place at the table in Detroit’s rebuilding.”

These janitors, whose contract for 1,450 janitors in Southeast Michigan (Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties) expires on July 31st, clean buildings of major corporations and public facilities like Detroit Public Schools. The average downtown janitor is paid a little over $24,000 a year, and many receive public assistance. Some are considered “very low income” according to Federal HUD income limits.

“When people ask what does a union mean to you? I say that the union means having a future,” Janitor Niya Reed said. “I love Detroit. I want my kids to have a Detroit as Detroit should be, and the way to do that is raise wages for workers like me.”

Today’s rally was the first in a series of demonstrations that will highlight the needs for good jobs as Detroit moves forward in its rebuilding. Janitors in Detroit are joining nearly 131,820 SEIU janitors in cities across the country — janitors from Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York — whose union contracts also expire in 2015 and 2016. Detroit janitors’ negotiations begin in June.

BACKGROUND: SEIU Local 1 commercial janitors are covered by the Master Agreement and clean a wide variety of facilities in the Metro Detroit Region including prominent office buildings, factories, government facilities, the airport, and even some Detroit Public Schools. Among the buildings served by Local 1 janitors are:  the Ally Detroit Center, First National Building, Compuware, the Renaissance Center, Ford World Headquarters, Comerica Bank (411 Building), Detroit Edison Plaza, DTE Energy Building,  Wayne County’s Guardian Building and Southfield Town Center. Their contract expires on July 31st, 2015.


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SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff’s Statement on Freddie Gray Tragedy

Chicago–SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff issued the following statement on the Freddie Gray tragedy as well as the need to fix America’s broken criminal justice system:

“The search for justice may prove to be very long and difficult in a society with ongoing race and class divisions. As these divisions are taking center stage in Baltimore, I extend thoughts and prayers to the family of Freddie Grayon behalf of the 50,000 members of SEIU Local 1.

“Freddie Gray’s death is a tragedy of national scale. Not only did his death affect his closest family, it shook our entire country. The American family finds itself yet again brought to its knees, but also outraged as another black life is lost while under police custody.  America will never truly thrive as a nation until every human being is respected and every community and neighborhood has equal opportunity to succeed. We must ensure that the criminal justice system holds everyone equal under the law, regardless of the color of their skin or the neighborhood which they live in. Our responsibility now is to work together peacefully to make our society as a whole a better one.

“Our members throughout the Midwest walk the city streets daily and deserve to live free of profiling, criminalization and most of all fear. SEIU Local 1 will continue to fight for full dignity and respect of all workers regardless of race, gender, or religion, not only in the workplace but also at home, in our communities and on the streets to continue to eradicate the economic and social inequality in our neighborhoods.”

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3 takeaways from $15 minimum wage rallies, fast-food strikes


About 300 people participated in a march and rally Wednesday calling for a $15 minimum wage. The Cleveland rally was among more than 200 that took place nationally, as part of the Fight for 15 campaign. In this photo, demonstrators march along Euclid Avenue, near Cleveland State University. (photo courtesy SEIU District 1199)
Olivera Perkins, The Plain Dealer By Olivera Perkins, The Plain Dealer
on April 16, 2015 at 9:50 AM, updated April 16, 2015 at 11:09 AM

 CLEVELAND, Ohio – The rally was over, but somehow it felt like a beginning.

The demonstrators, numbering nearly 300, marched along the sidewalks of Euclid Avenue as evening rush hour traffic crawled by. Even though most had walked a mile to the event, which supported increasing the minimum wage to $15, many still had pep in their step for the return trip home.

They chanted with conviction: “I believe that we will win!” An African drum accompanied them as left the rally that had been in front of Cleveland State University. Some demonstrators held signs such as: “Poverty-Wage Jobs HOLD CLEVELAND BACK.”

Cleveland was one of more than 200 cities Wednesday where people had rallies, candlelight vigils, engaged in fast-food strikes and other actions as part of the Fight for 15 campaign, which is part of Service Employees International Union.

“This isn’t the end,” said Al Bacon, secretary/treasurer of SEIU District 1199, the rally’s last speaker. “This is a giant step forward.”

In many ways it was. The event was notable because of the number of people who participated locally and because it was the largest national action to date by Fight for 15. The event also stood out because of the cross-section of participants.

Demonstrators had taken different roads to the rally. This could be viewed as a literal statement. The home care workers had begun their march from the SEIU union hall on East 30th Street. The adjunct professors had left from the Cuyahoga Community College Metro campus.

Taking different paths, but ending up in the same place was also symbolic. While some held PhDs and others only GEDs, they all complained of earning less than $15 an hour. The median hourly wage for home care workers is about $9.60, according to Labor Department data. Adjunct professors nationally make about $2,700 per class per semester, according to SEIU. Many adjuncts say that when one considers the non-teaching duties, most of them make less than $15 an hour. The union, which represents many home care workers, is also organizing adjuncts nationally.

In Cleveland, as nationally, this was the first raise-the-minimum-wage rally representing an array of occupations. For many of the demonstrators, this was an indication that the struggle of low-wage workers was not fleeting – something only capable of grabbing headlines with actions — such as one-day strikes by fast-food or Walmart workers — and then being forgotten. For many of them, the scope and size of the tax day actions were proof that struggles of low-wage workers, highlighted with the first fast-food strikes 2 ½ years ago, were expanding and maturing. It was, by most measures, a movement.

“It is significant because it represents workers in general, not just a specific type of worker, coming together,” said Yanela Sims, Northern Ohio coordinator for SEIU Local 1, of Wednesday’s demonstrations. “If workers don’t stand together, we will all crumble.

It is a strong workers’ movement, and it is really exciting for our city.”

Sandra Ellington, a janitor at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport, said she found a sense of power in marching and rallying with workers from various occupations.

“The working-class Americans are sticking together and they are saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” she said. “No matter who you are, no matter what you do, we are all valued and valuable. It is important that we keep this fight moving forward.”

When Walmart recently announced it would raise its minimum wage to $10 by next year and McDonald’s said it would raise its minimum wage to $9.90 at its corporate-run restaurants this summer, many wondered if such developments would take the steam out of the low-wage workers’ movement. After all, protesters had gotten at least some of what they were looking for.

Harriet Applegate, who heads the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor, said bigger victories are yet to come. She said it was significant that nearly 300 participated in the Cleveland rally.

“It symbolizes that there is a huge need for people to make a living wage,” she said. “It is long overdue. People can’t live a decent life. It is a terrible thing.

“I think this is the beginning of a wave that will bring about change,” Applegate said of the low-wage workers’ movement.

Three Takeaways from the $15 Minimum Wage Rallies, Fast-food Strikes, etc.

1. The low-wage workers’ movement is expanding in scope – Wednesday’s protests included participants from several occupations, including: adjunct professors, home care workers, child care workers, airport workers, industrial laundry workers, Walmart and other retail workers. College students also participated. In Cleveland, students from CSU, Kent State University, Oberlin College and Tri-C participated.

David Wilder, an art and art history adjunct who teaches at Cuyahoga Community College and John Carroll University, said the efforts of fast food and retail workers for better pay had motivated him to do the same for adjuncts. Wilder said he is helping to organize adjuncts at John Carroll.

He said he is among those pushing to get John Carroll to adopt the Jesuit Just Employment Policy, which among other things, Wilder said calls for “a living wage” and the right to join a union. He said the adjuncts turned in a 200-signature petition to the university Tuesday. John Carroll did not respond to The Plain Dealer’s requests regarding the matter.

2. Opponents of the $15 minimum wage are increasing their efforts – Seeing the impact of many of the low-wage workers’ actions, some groups opposed to raising the minimum wage have increased their efforts. For example, a day before the tax day protests, the Washington, D.C.-based Employment Policies Institute, which opposes unions, launched The group says the website “chronicles the real stories of small businesses and how they’ve adapted to drastic minimum wage hikes.”

3. Low-wage workers’ protests fuel research – Think tanks, advocacy organizations and universities often release analyses or reports in the days leading up to national low-wage workers’ demonstrations.

Among those recently released is an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project, which showed that half of the 10 occupations expected to grow the most by 2022 will have median hourly wages below $12. These jobs include: personal care aides, retail sales clerks, home health aides, food prep and serving workers (including fast food) and janitors and cleaners.

report by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United found that nearly half the families of full-service restaurant workers are enrolled in one or more public-assistance programs. The reports said these subsidies amount to more than $9.4 billion a year.

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On Tax Day, Detroit Janitors Join Largest-Ever Mobilization of Underpaid


As Fast-Food Workers Strike in 200 Cities, Janitors, Adjunct Professors, Home Care, Child Care, Airport, Industrial Laundry and Walmart Workers Come Together in Coast-to-Coast Protests

DETROIT – Janitors in Detroit joined fast food, adjunct professors, home care, child care, airport, industrial laundry and Walmart workers in the most widespread mobilization ever by U.S. workers seeking higher pay.

Detroit once had strong, union jobs for janitors and its workers; jobs with decent wages and healthcare benefits.But now, outside investors are buying downtown real estate and pushing down wages and benefits.

“I used to make nearly $15 and a union,” stated Niya Reed, a Fisher Building janitor who was recently laid off. “Back then, I owned a car, paid my insurance, and raised my kids in a good neighborhood. But now, I’ve lost the car, I had to move my children to a more dangerous neighborhood, and I’m getting by on public assistance.”

Fast-food cooks and cashiers walked off their jobs Wednesday morning in cities from Pittsburgh to Pasadena, setting off a historic wave of protests for higher pay and the freedom to join unions that stretched across industries and around the globe and inspired college students and #BlackLivesMatter activists to join in.

The protests—the most widespread mobilization ever by U.S. workers seeking higher pay— came just days after Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president promising to confront America’s gaping inequality.

“Detroit needs good jobs. We built the American labor movement, and once boasted some of the highest stardards of living in the country,” said Reverend Charles Williams II, Senior Pastor, Historic King Solomon Baptist Church of Detroit and President of National Action Network – Michigan. “But now, minimum wage jobs with no benefits are dragging our economy down. The way to raise Detroit is to raise wages, so that residents can afford the items we need.”

Around the country, workers went on strike for the first time in Albany, NY; Asheville, NC; Greenville, MS; Montgomery, Ala.; and San Jose, Calif. The strikes, which started a day earlier in Boston out of deference to the April 15 anniversary of the marathon bombing, came two weeks after McDonald’s announced it was increasing salaries for a fraction of its workforce by $1. But rather than mollifying employees, the paltry pay move inspired even more workers to join the walkout. All across the country, McDonald’s workers joined strike lines, chanting, “Hey McDonald’s Let’s Be Blunt, Your Raise is Just a PR Stunt.”

In New York City, striking workers and supporters protested at every McDonald’s in Manhattan, while in Berkeley, Calif. Robert Reich, a former secretary of labor, spoke to striking workers at a McDonald’s.

Detroit Background

Detroit once thrived when working people joined with local business leaders to transform low-wage manufacturing jobs into middle-class jobs—jobs with benefits and a retirement. These jobs allowed workers to own homes and provide a good life for their families.

But now, even though hard work is generating billions in profits here in Detroit, powerful corporations are using their influence to push down wages and benefits here and across the country.That means hard-working people—including many workers rallying on April 15—are paid so little that they have to rely on public assistance just to provide the basics for their families.

Outside investors continue to come in and buy up more and more downtown real estate as part of our city’s revitalization, and hiring irresponsible contractors set on cutting costs to provide the cheapest rates.

The Fisher and Albert Khan Buildings once had strong, union jobs for janitors; jobs with decent wages and healthcare benefits.Contract Direct has replaced these experienced janitors with poverty-wage jobs, cutting wages by over 30% and getting rid of health benefits.

Workers are rallying on April 15 because they know that companies like Contract Direct can afford to support good jobs that boost our economy, lift our communities, and pave a better future for Detroit.


Workers in 100 cities, from 40 countries, on six continents representing some 50 global unions also protested as the movement around the world for higher pay and better rights expanded. For the first time, workers outside the U.S. coordinated strikes with workers here, with fast-food workers across Italy waging a national strike. Workers occupied a McDonald’s in Glasgow, stormed McDonald’s restaurants in five Brazilian cities and blockaded a McDonald’s in Paris, holding a six-meter long sign that read, “Stop Social Destruction and Tax Avoidance.”

“The fast-food industry is dominated by a handful of multi-billion-dollar global companies, so we need to have a strong, global movement of workers pushing for better wages, better treatment and better rights,” said Massimo Frattini, the international coordinator of the International Union of Food workers, which is coordinating the global protests. “By coming together across borders, fast-food workers have an opportunity to transform the industry all over the world.”

The global protests come as McDonald’s is coming under increased scrutiny for both its treatment of workers and its questionable corporate citizenship around the world. In Brazil, a coalition of trade unions has filed two lawsuits accusing the company of widespread and systematic labor and health and safety violations. One of the suits accuses McDonald’s of “social dumping,” an anti-competitive practice that drives standards down for workers across the country, and seeks to prevent the company from opening new stores unless it complies with Brazilian law. Also, McDonald’s agent in Latin America and the Caribbean, Arcos Dorados, has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with an investor group asking the New York Stock Exchange to review the company’s corporate governance.

In Europe, McDonald’s is being accused by a coalition of trade unions and the UK-based NGO War on Want of avoiding more than €1 billion in taxes over the last five years. Last month, the European Commission’s Directorate of Competition launched a preliminary investigation to find out whether McDonald’s entered into an illegal deal with Luxembourg that allowed it to avoid taxes.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the federal government recently launched a case against McDonald’s, accusing the fast-food giant of rampant labor-law violations, and arguing that the corporate parent, and not just franchisees, are responsible for the illegal actions. This is all on top of suits alleging wage theft and racial discrimination in the US; more than two-dozen complaints filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging McDonald’s workers are being burned on the job, with many told to use condiments like mustard to ease the pain; and the more than $1 billion in public assistance taxpayers spend to subsidize low wages here.

Tax Day

It isn’t just McDonald’s that is digging into taxpayers’ pockets. The tax day protests, held Wednesday both because the date, 4/15, is the workers’ demand and because they wanted to highlight the fact that they are paid so little that too many are forced to rely on public assistance to get by, came just days after researchers at the University of California-Berkeley released a report showing that persistent low wages are costing taxpayers nearly $153 billion every year in public support to working families.

In Connecticut, a proposal currently moving through the state legislature would fine large companies that pay low wages in an effort to recoup the cost these companies impose on taxpayers. Congressional Democrats’ Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal unveiled last month included a provision that would roll back tax breaks for large companies that fail to raise pay on pace with inflation.

Changing How America Thinks About Wages

What seemed two years ago like a far-fetched goal—$15 an hour—is now not so crazy. In February, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio called for an increase in New York City’s minimum wage to $15 by 2019. In Chicago, the Chicago Teachers Union asked the Board of Education to pay $15 an hour to all workers in schools and in December, Chicago lawmakers voted to raise the minimum wage to $13. In Washington, workers won $15 in Seattle, where Bloomberg News said the city adopted “the rallying cry of fast-food workers,” and in SeaTac, where local low-wage airport workers played a leading role in winning a historic wage increase.

And in November, San Francisco became the third city in the U.S. to adopt a $15 minimum wage. Since the first fast-food strike in 2012, 9 million low-wage workers have gotten raises through local ballot measures, city and state legislation, contract negotiations and employer policy changes—more workers than are in private sector unions in the entire country.

Slate said the Fight for $15, “managed to completely rewire how the public and politicians think about wages;” MSNBC said it, “entirely changed the politics of the country;” and Fortune said it, “transformed labor organizing from a process often centered on nickel-and-dime negotiations with a single employer into a social justice movement that transcends industry and geographic boundaries.

The urgent need for solutions to America’s low-wage crisis is already emerging as a key issue in the run-up to the 2016 election. In The New York Times, David Leonhardt wrote, “[a]s the 2016 presidential campaign begins to stir, the central question will be how both parties respond to the great wage slowdown.” And Democrats and leading economic experts are increasingly looking to restore Americans’ rights to form unions as a way to bring balance back to the economy and create jobs that enable more communities to thrive.



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Chicago Janitors, Building Owners and Cleaning Companies Invest in Good Jobs and Help Grow Our Economy

April 10, 2015

Janitors Approve Contract Agreement Benefiting Both their Families and Communities; Narrow Wage Gap between Downtown and the Suburbs

CHICAGO –By an overwhelming margin, Chicagoland SEIU Local 1 janitors approved a new union contract that preserves their ability to support their families and allows them access to health care. As part of this settlement with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and suburban contractors, nearly 10,000 janitors and their families won wage increases and protected fully employer-paid healthcare over the next three years. The janitors were also able to narrow the suburban- downtown wage gap.

“These economic gains will directly benefit our region’s economy for years to come, helping hardworking families build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1. “Local 1 is leading the way for all working people – when you stand up together and bargain collectively, we all win.”

The new three year janitors’ union contract, which goes into effect April 6th, guarantees:

  • Annual wage increases for janitors, which will allow them to build a better future by supporting their families in the midst of increasing cost of living in the Chicago area.
  • Protection of quality, family health insurance. The janitors plan provides comprehensive coverage for janitors and their families at half of the cost of the average family health plan in Illinois.
  • Stronger contract, which gives part time members stronger seniority rights.

Nearly 2,000 janitors are still working to get their contracts settled. Chicago Public Schools and other publicly funded facilities have traditionally followed these area standards set by BOMA and the Local 1 janitors, but there is no guarantee.

“We are celebrating great progress today, but we are just getting started,” said Paula Henriquez, a janitor with Chicago Public Schools. “Now we are calling on Cook County and the City of Chicago to adopt the wage and benefit standards for janitors at Chicago Public Schools, the airports, and all publicly funded facilities set by SEIU Local 1 janitors, business leaders and BOMA.”


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

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10,000 Chicagoland Janitors Win Raises, Protect Healthcare

RaiseAmerica Chicago VIdeo ScreenshotIn a historic settlement with Chicago’s Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and suburban contractors, nearly 10,000 janitors and their families won wage increases and protected fully employer-paid family healthcare over the next three years. This contract narrows the wage gap between downtown and suburban janitors—ensuring a better future for all of Chicagoland’s working families.

“These economic gains will directly benefit our region’s economy for years to come, helping hardworking families build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1. “SEIU Local 1 is leading the way for all working people – when workers stand up together and bargain collectively, we all win.”

SEIU Local 1 janitors came out in record numbers and stuck together with workers across the country to secure this victory. The fight for good jobs continues. Corporations like BMO Harris Bank continue to pay their contracted janitors poverty wages with no benefits. And more than 3,000 Chicago-area janitors are still working to get their contracts settled. Chicago Public Schools and other publicly funded facilities have traditionally followed these area standards set by BOMA and the SEIU Local 1 janitors, but there is no guarantee.

“We are celebrating great progress today, but we are just getting started,” said Paula Henriquez, a janitor with Chicago Public Schools. “Now we are calling on Cook County and the City of Chicago to adopt the wage and benefit standards for janitors at Chicago Public Schools, police stations, parks, and all publicly funded facilities set by SEIU Local 1 janitors, business leaders and BOMA.”

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BREAKING: Janitor Rally at BMO Headquarters for Good Jobs Prompts Act of Civil Disobedience as Janitors Block Financial District Intersection; 20 Arrested

Thursday April 2, 2015

CHICAGO – In an act of civil disobedience that harkens back to the civil rights movement, 20 SEIU Local 1 janitors and supporters risked arrest today at BMO Harris Bank to protest BMO’s poor treatment of its contract employees, which is deepening the divide between the richest 1% and the rest of working America. The janitors rallied with the support of faith leaders and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outside of BMO Harris Bank to call on the wealthy corporation to do right by the hardworking janitors who clean their downtown Chicago and suburban offices by providing them with decent wages and benefits.

“The BMO janitors’ struggle is an example of what’s wrong with our economy. But this problem is solvable—there is a clear road map for what we need to change,” said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “Instead of driving workers deeper into poverty, our country needs good jobs that build working families up and raise standards for all workers.”

Janitors who clean BMO’s Naperville offices perform the same job as the union janitors at the headquarters in Chicago, but are paid significantly less and have no benefits. BMO Financial Group made $4.3 billion in profits in 2014. In fact, BMO makes enough profit every six minutes to raise all 10 Naperville janitors to $15 an hour with employer paid family health insurance for an entire year.

“On this Holy Day, when we recall Jesus celebrating Passover and washing the feet of his disciples, we know that those who serve us by keeping our surroundings clean and healthy, must also be honored for their dignity and worth,” said Rev. C.J. Hawking, Exec Director of Arise Chicago and one of those arrested. “These workers deserve a just contract, regardless of where they serve.”

Those arrested today include faith leaders as well as well as janitors who are bargaining for a new contract that expires in three days. Chicagoland union janitors are uniting with BMO janitors to help raise the floor for all working families.

Throughout our history as a nation, people of good will have courageously and nonviolently engaged in protest and civil disobedience to stand up for civil liberties—including the Boston Tea Party, Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad, and the fight for women to gain the right to vote.



BACKGROUND: Contracts that impact the livelihood of 12,000 SEIU Local 1 members and their families expire on April 5, 2015. These janitors are joining more than 130,000 SEIU janitors in cities across the country—janitors from Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York—whose union contracts also expire in 2015 and 2016. Chicago is the first city in the country to negotiate.

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Janitors Rally at CPS for Good Jobs and Clean Schools

Ina Davis at CPS Presser 3.25.15SEIU Local 1 janitors who clean Chicago Public School (CPS) rallied at the CPS Board of Education meeting on March 25th as two custodians testified to the board. The custodians are calling on CPS to support good jobs with adequate staffing to ensure our city’s children have the clean schools they need to learn and excel.

The custodians are urging CPS to do right by the hardworking janitors who clean our city’s schools by providing them with decent wages and benefits and reinstating part-timed Aramark janitors to full-time work. Aramark, the cleaning contractor hired by CPS, laid off nearly 300 janitors who clean public schools in our city and cut  another 200 to part-time in October of last year.

“I have cleaned Chicago Public Schools for 19 years,” SEIU Local 1 member Ina Davis told reporters. “Every night I clean 23 classrooms, 17 bathrooms and 72,000 square feet of hallway. I am here to tell CPS: I want to clean your schools; you want your schools clean. Help me. I feel like I’m doing triple time.”

Despite working extremely hard, the current custodial workforce is not allowed enough hours to keep our schools clean. Chicago and its schools are safer, cleaner and more prosperous when their workers are fairly compensated and they have adequate staffing.

Contracts that impact the livelihood of 22,000 SEIU Local 1 members and their families are expiring on April 5, including hundreds who work at CPS.

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SEIU Illinois State Council Endorses Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for Mayor

Major Labor Union Representing More than 150,000 in Illinois Calls Garcia the Clear Choice for Working Families

CHICAGO – Leading the fight against income inequality, the SEIU Illinois State Council today announced its endorsement of Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the 2015 Mayoral Election.

“This election presents a clear choice between Rahm Emanuel who turned his back on Chicago’s hard working families by eliminating or outsourcing good jobs to companies that slash wages and benefits and Jesus Chuy Garcia a long time progressive champion and ally of all workers,” said Tom Balanoff, SEIU Illinois State Council President. “SEIU is going to make sure that Chicago’s working families have a say in this election. We know we can’t match the tens of millions of dollars that Rahm’s billionaire friends are funneling into his campaign, but we can make sure that working families have a voice through Chuy Garcia’s campaign. We look forward to working with our friend Chuy Garcia to champion the needs of working families by restoring balance, reviving neighborhoods and building an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.”

“Chuy Garcia is the candidate who will best represent the interests and values of working families in our great city,” said April Verrett SEIU HCII Executive Vice President. “His track record of doing so goes back to his stand with the late Mayor Harold Washington and has continued throughout his political career. Chicago is in need of clear direction that empowers working families, not one that continues to put the burden on the backs of families who are struggling to make ends meet as Rahm Emmanuel has done. In Chuy Garcia, we will have a mayor whose first concern will be in the interest of working families.”

“The clear choice for Chicago’s working families in the upcoming election is between a future with Chuy Garcia in which all of us have access to a quality standard of living, or one with Rahm Emanuel in which workers are taken advantage of by special interests and Rahm’s rich friends,” said Ewa Miklewicz, SEIU Local 1 Janitor. “While Rahm Emanuel’s buddies are thriving in our city, we are faced with tripled water fees and scammed by the red light and speed cameras Emanuel enforced. That’s why SEIU is proud to endorse Chuy Garcia, a man on our side who will fight for the working families of our city.”

Representing more than 150,000 workers, the SEIU Illinois Council rallies behind candidates who have demonstrated a strong record on issues important to all working families. The SEIU Illinois Council represents workers including home care and child care providers, security officers, janitors, as well as public employees, medical professionals, first responders and social service workers. SEIU members are winning better wages, health care, and more secure jobs, while ensuring that workers, not just corporations and CEOs, benefit from today’s economy.

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Rauner reveals face he tried to hide from voters — the anti-union ideologue one

Chicago Sun Times

By: Mark Brown

And so it begins.

Gov. Bruce Rauner fired his first shot Monday in his campaign to give all Illinois workers the right to choose to work for less money.

Rauner’s legally dubious executive order relieving state employees of the requirement they pay union dues was a loud declaration the new governor aims to restore Illinois to prosperity — by undercutting the organizing power of its work force.

The governor’s initial targeting of public employee unions was no surprise given his election rhetoric, but his use of an executive order to impose his willseemed to catch everyone off guard.

“I did not see him going this far,” admitted Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU Illinois Council, who said Rauner “knows this is not legal.”

It took AFSCME Council 31 more than an hour to come up with a response before calling Rauner’s move a “blatantly illegal abuse of power.”

I think a lot of people expected Rauner to move back to the middle after the election so he could govern as a pragmatic and moderate businessman. Now it’s becoming plain he’s an ideologue who could end up making noted union antagonist Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker look like the late-labor leader George Meany.

My first thought upon learning of Rauner’s move was of Fort Sumter and the cannon shot that signaled the beginning of the Civil War, not to suggest anything so momentous.

My second thought was of my grandfather, a railroad worker who was shot and wounded by company thugs who fired on a group of union pickets in the central Illinois railroad wars 69 years ago this month. Yes, I have a visceral reaction to this stuff.

I completely understand that Illinois voters were looking to make some changes when they elected Rauner as governor, and many of them would like to give the wealthy businessman an opportunity to try things his way for a while.

But in rejecting what they saw as failed Democratic rule, it’s hard to believe they were also buying into Rauner’s emerging concept of what it takes to make Illinois more competitive.

It does raise an interesting question: Are people gullible enough to think this is really about a worker’s right to choose whether they pay dues to a union, as Rauner claims?

Or can they see through the baloney to understand that Rauner’s idea of what would make Illinois workers more competitive with other states is lower wages and benefits.

What else does more competitive mean to Rauner? It sure doesn’t mean he wants our workers to run faster and jump higher.

I read last summer’s Supreme Court decision on which Rauner is hanging his hat, and it specifically did NOT overturn court precedents that make it legal to assess so-called “fair share fees to public employees who don’t want to join the union.

As I wrote at the time, it certainly looks as if some members of the court, possibly a majority, are itching for the opportunity to do just that. But for now, that’s not the state of the law, or the law of this state.

Nobody, though, should have been too surprised by Rauner’s move.

Even before the election, I told you about a speech he gave back in 2013 to the Wauconda Township Republican Club at which he foreshadowed his plans.

In response to a question, Rauner went off on one of his then common rants about “government union bosses and the trial lawyers,” an approach he tried to downplay during the general election campaign.

“They’ve got us by the throats and I’m going to do . . . ” Rauner said before interrupting himself.

“Some of this I’m not going to talk about publicly,” he confided. “This is probably going to go out on YouTube.”

Rauner went on to reveal just a little. He said he was going to use executive orders to “take on” government unions. But he didn’t want to talk about it just then given the possibility that everyone would see him on YouTube — for who he is.

It’s like I told you before: Rauner has big plans for Illinois, and he’d let us know all about them after the election.

I’m wondering what other secret plans Rauner has up his sleeve. I’m reminded of other speeches where he talked about spoiling for a possible strike from state workers — and replacing them a la Ronald Reagan and the air traffic controllers.

If private-sector union members are thinking this is the public employee unions’ problem, then they are going to be in for a rude awakening. The same goes for non-union workers who think this is a union problem.

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