SEIU Local 26 Leadership Assembly 2016

It’s time for our annual SEIU Local 26 Leadership Assembly!

The Leadership Assembly will be held Saturday, May 14 at the Union Hall (1620 Central Ave NE #177, Mpls) from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The assembly is open to all Local 26 members.

Per our constitution, elected stewards will vote on the plan and budget, but all members are encouraged to attend and be a part of the discussion. If you plan to attend, please be familiar with the following documents before Saturday’s meeting:

Dues Info – English

Info de las cuotas – español


Year in Review & Proposals – English

El año en revisión & Prioridades para 2016 – español


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**En español abajo


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Twin Cities Janitors Win Tentative Agreement on New Contract

After months of fighting, contract wins $15 for thousands of janitors, the largest wage increases in decades, concrete steps to address workload crisis, healthcare improvements and more

Minneapolis, Minn – In their 18th negotiation session, after 12 hours of bargaining that started Sunday afternoon and ended after 1 a.m. Monday morning, janitors and their employers reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract. With the tentative agreement, which will be brought to the membership this weekend for approval, janitors won big gains following their 24-hour ULP strike, civil disobedience and countless rallies and marches with supporters. Full background on the contract campaign at bottom. 

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Brahim Kone, a janitor from St. Paul and leader on the bargaining team, highlighted why janitors were so excited with the agreement and why they are advocating for members to vote yes on the contract.

“This was a hard fight, but we were fighting for a better life for our families and a step forward on rolling back racial disparities in our state, and the bargaining team is so proud of the final result that we are bringing back to the full membership” said Kone, a father of three. “Alongside many other important wins, we won the largest raise in decades for Twin Cities janitors, moving full time workers like myself over $15 immediately, and for the first time we won steps forward on addressing our workload crisis. This is a big win for our union, and a big win for our community. Janitors stood together through many months to win what is right, and we are so excited for this victory.”

Lucia Guaman, a janitor who works for Harvard cleaning RBC Plaza in Minneapolis, highlighted why the groundbreaking wins on workload are so important to janitors with SEIU.

“Winning new policies about workload, including walkthroughs with union stewards and a plan to do a worker-centered third-party study about the real challenges facing janitors so we can end this workload crisis once and for all, are huge wins for janitors and our families,” said Guaman. “My supervisor once told me, when I brought up our increasing workload, to ‘vacuum with one hand, mop with the other and dust with your mouth.’ No one deserves this treatment, but people were intimidated to discuss workload or even report when they get injured. Now we have an avenue to fix this crisis, and we hope this means we no longer will hear stories about janitors too hurt and sore from work to play with their children. We have been fighting to live, not just survive, and this is a huge step towards that goal.”

Members of the union will vote on the full proposal this weekend.

Main contract wins include:

1.  Largest Janitorial Wage Increases in Over 20 years

  • Over 60% of all janitors will immediately get raises to over $15/hour
  • All full time janitors will receive raises of $.50, $.50, $.40, $.40
  • Full timers will reach $16.42 by the end of the 4 year contract, a 12.3% increase from current wages
  • Part timers will receive the same 12.3% increase

2.  Historic New Workload Protections 

  • Worker-centered enforcement through worksite reviews and walkthroughs of janitor’s workloads
  • A groundbreaking professional study through the University of Minnesota on the workload problems in our worksites, developed through an industry wide committee

3.  Expanded Part Time Benefits

  • For the first time part-time janitors will receive full healthcare benefits and will have paid sick days

4.  Improved Benefits for Full time Janitors 

  • Healthcare benefits improved, low premiums protected and disability pay increased

5.  Better Job Security

  • Prevented boss proposal to cut full time positions in the market
  • Janitors won a “just cause” clause for the first time, which means they cannot fire janitors without reason

6.  Other Wins 

  • Company must make “good faith effort to accommodate” workers who want to take New Years Eve or Eid off from work on paid time
  • Protections of benefits when buildings switch contractors
  • A better process for accessing earned vacation time

Background on contract negotiations for janitors: On February 17th the janitors with SEIU Local 26 walked off the job on a 24-hour ULP strike, and on February 25th 11 janitors and allies took arrest in peaceful civil disobedience at U.S. Bank Headquarters. The sub-contractors who employ the janitors to clean some of the most prominent and wealthy buildings in the state held 18 negotiation sessions with janitors starting in October of 2015, including multiple marathon sessions that lasted over 10 hours. The janitors in SEIU Local 26 are over 90% people of color, so fair pay and benefits have an immediate impact on the communities most impacted by our state’s racial and economic disparities, some of the worst in the country.

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Twin Cities Janitors To Strike Wednesday as Deadline Passes

Minneapolis, Minn – After months of bargaining, and in response to stalling and delays from employers, janitors with SEIU Local 26 have announced they will walk off the job on an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike on Wednesday. Specifics about locations and times of picket lines will be announced to the press starting Wednesday morning, with a community rally from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm at U.S. Bank Plaza in Minneapolis that evening. The strike will hit some of the largest and most prominent buildings throughout the metro over the course of the day. It will be the first strike by sub-contracted union janitors in the Twin Cities in decades.

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“At a time of increasing wealth for a small few, we are fighting for a fair contract that will not only help our families, but start to roll back the racial and economic inequalities facing our state,” said Brahim Kone, a St. Paul janitor and leader on the bargaining team who will be going on strike. “We are contracted to clean the buildings of some of the most wealthy corporations in the world, yet our calls for a fair contract are being ignored. We want $15 for all workers, a solution to our workload crisis that sees many janitors clean the equivalent of over 20 homes every single night, and policies that allow us to have healthy families. We are fighting for our own families, but we also want our fight to show others that you don’t have to accept the status quo. Our state and economy are not working for everyone, and the people who benefit from the economic and racial disparities they created clearly won’t give up without a fight. With employers dismissing all of our proposals, we see no choice but to go on strike to win what is right. Our campaign has been about the call to ‘Reclaim Your Dreams,’ and we hope the public will stand with us Wednesday as we go on strike as part of that fight.”

Background: On January 23rd, janitors with SEIU Local 26, 90% of whom are people of color, voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a unfair labor practice strike as their employers continue to stall and intimidate workers in bargaining over a new contract for the 4,000 janitors in the Twin Cities. Workers have been fighting for a $15 floor for all workers, a fix to a growing workload crisis and policies that support healthy families. In response they have only seen stalling from employers. The bargaining committee announced a Feb. 14th deadline to reach a fair contract that allows for healthy families and strengthens our community by fighting to address income and racial disparities plaguing our state. That deadline came and went without any real progress towards a deal. Janitors have held 11 negotiating sessions since October with their employers. They have no more bargaining sessions scheduled this week. Their current three-year contract expired on Dec. 31st.

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As Strike Deadline Looms, New Report Highlights Unsafe Workloads and Rising Productivity Demands Facing Twin Cities Janitors

The report, titled ‘Back Breaking Profits,’ highlights how decades of sub-contracting has caused the current situation that contributed to janitors voting to authorize strike

Minneapolis, Minn— Just weeks after Twin Cities janitors voted unanimously to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike, and the committee set a Feb. 14th deadline for the 4,000 janitors across the Metro to get a fair contract from their employers, a new report titled Back Breaking Profits is shining a light on one of the major issues highlighted by janitors who voted to authorize a strike. The new report lays clear how in the Twin Cities, as in the rest of the United States, the janitorial industry has undergone massive subcontracting in the last three decades, and the harm that has meant for workers, families and our communities.

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From the report:

In the last decade, janitorial services contractors have reduced the number of janitors, forcing the remaining workforce to cover more territory, leading to injuries and high stress for workers. The work is labor intensive, and fast-paced, demanding heavy lifting, repetitive motions, bending and crouching in unnatural positions. Building cleaning and maintenance occupations had the highest rate of days-away-from-work due to on-the-job injury or illness in Minnesota during 2014, nearly three times the average of all private sector occupations.

The cleaning industry is in crisis and janitors are facing the worst of it. Service Employees International Union Local 26 janitorial members have experienced drastic increases in workload; many say the changes began more than 30 years ago, when building owners started contracting out cleaning services rather than employing those workers directly.

The report includes personal testimonies from Twin Cities janitors who are members of the SEIU Local 26 and would be part of a strike if the contract hasn’t been reached by the Feb 14th deadline. Jessica Hansen has been a janitor since 1977, when a majority of workers like her were white, and has seen the changes as her job has gone from being considered a “good job,” with fair pay, free healthcare, pensions and more, to the current challenges facing workers. Currently over 90% of janitors in the Twin Cities with SEIU Local 26 are people of color. On average, janitors clean the equivalent per square feet of more than 20 houses every night, while some clean much more than that.

In the report, janitors like Elia, who cleans the Ameriprise tower in Minneapolis, share the real world implications of the rising workloads facing janitors and their families. Her testimony includes sharing that “four people got injured at the building I clean between April to December, and I was one of them. Because of my injury, I had to be on light duty for weeks, but the worst part is I’m in so much pain, I can’t play with my children,” she stated. There are countless stories like Elia’s, including many shared in the report, that highlight why increasing workload is such a major issue for janitors, and all working people, across Minnesota.

The report highlights steps being proposed by the janitor’s in negotiations to address this crisis, including:

  • Worker-centered enforcement of safety rules.  Walkthroughs and information for janitors to resolve issues at worksite where they know best. Janitors are experts in their field, they know what works, what doesn’t, what can be accomplished safely and when they’re being pushed to their limits. Workload walkthroughs with janitor, union steward and supervisor are a necessary tool to resolve issues at worksite.
  • Sustainable staffing levels. Establishing reasonable staffing levels, such as 40,000 square feet per night and 225 bathroom units, would ensure manageable workloads and prevent on-the-job injuries.
  • Data driven analysis of how to improve. Fielding an academic study from the University of Minnesota to evaluate ergonomic best practices and asses the effects of workload on janitors

Read the whole report HERE. Workers from the report and the report’s main author are available for comment.

Background: On January 23rd, janitors with SEIU Local 26 voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a unfair labor practice strike as their employers continue to stall and intimidate workers in bargaining over a new contract for the 4,000 janitors in the Twin Cities. Workers have been fighting for a $15 floor for all workers, a fix to a growing workload crisis and policies that support healthy families. In response they have only seen stalling from employers. The bargaining committee announced a Feb. 14th deadline to reach a fair contract that allows for healthy families and strengthens our community by fighting to address income and racial disparities plaguing our state. If a contract agreement is not reached by Feb. 14th, the committee could call a strike at any point going forward. Janitors have been negotiating since October with their employers. Their current three-year contract expired on Dec. 31st.


SEIU Local 26 is Minnesota’s Property Services Union, uniting more than 6,000 janitors, security officers, and window cleaners in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. SEIU unites more than 225,000 property services workers nationally, and over 2 million including workers in healthcare and the public sector.

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Los empleados de la limpieza autorizan a ir a huelga, ya que los empleadores continúan entorpeciendo las negociaciones del Contrato Colectivo de Condiciones de Trabajo

Junto a los aliados de la comunidad, incluyendo a la Vicegobernadora Tina Smith, los empleados de la limpieza continúan dirigiendo la campaña para la lucha ‘recuperar nuestros sueños’ y ganar un contrato que ayude a mejorar las desigualdades raciales y económicas.

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Minneapolis, MN — Los trabajadores de la limpieza de SEIU Local 26 votaron hoy para autorizar a su Comité de Negociaciones para que hagan el llamado a la huelga por las prácticas laborales injustas, ya que los empleadores continúan entorpeciendo la negociación e intimidando a los trabajadores durante la negociación por el nuevo Contrato para 4,000 trabajadores de la limpieza de las Ciudades Gemelas.  Los trabajadores han venido luchando para ganar el salario mínimo de $15.00 dólares la hora, para solucionar la crisis por el aumento del volumen (carga) de trabajo, así como por normas para que apoyar a las familias para que estén saludables. En respuesta ellos sólo han visto el entorpecimiento de los empleadores.  El Comité de Negociaciones anunció que el 14 de febrero es la fecha límite para acordar un Contrato justo  para que las familias gocen de salud, para fortalecer la comunidad y para solucionar la desigualdad en los ingresos y la desigualdad racial que afecta a nuestro estado. Si para el 14 de febrero no se ha llegado al acuerdo para el Contrato, de esa fecha en adelante, en cualquier momento el Comité de Negociaciones podría hacer un llamado para ir a la huelga.
Adriana Espinosa, miembro de la  Local 26 y empleada de la limpieza de ABM contratada para limpiar el Instituto de Artes de Minneapolis (the Arts Institute), recalcó por qué votó “si” para dar su autorización para ir a la huelga por las prácticas laborales injustas y por el salario mínimo de $15.00 que los empleados de la limpieza han propuesto ya que esto ayudaría a familias como la suya y traería cambios positivos ya que nuestro estado está enfrentando una desigualdad racial y económica terrible.
“Yo voté para autorizar la huelga por las prácticas laborarles injustas porque yo trabajo con jornada de medio tiempo y gano $13.16 la hora, pero muchos de mis compañeros y compañeras de trabajo apenas ganan $11.00 la hora.  Nosotros trabajamos increíblemente duro, y un salario mínimo de $15.00 la hora significaría mas estabilidad para mi familia y nos permitiría vivir en vez de sólo tratar de poder sobrevivir. Sabemos que si los salarios de todos los trabajadores de la limpieza suben a $15.00 la hora, esto resultaría en que cada año miles de millones de dólares ingresarían a las comunidades de todas las áreas de las Ciudades Gemelas. Los empleados de la limpieza de la Local 26 en su mayoría son personas de color, lo que quiere decir que si hay aumentos justos para los empleado de la limpieza, esos ingresos regresarían a las áreas que por largo tiempo se han quedado atrás económicamente y ayudarían a que la economía suba para todos nosotros,” dijo Espinoza. “Cuando la familias ganan lo justo y tienen beneficios decentes, esto ayuda a mejorar a toda la comunidad. Ganar un contrato justo ayudará a todas las familias de la Local 26, pero también podría ayudar a ganar impulso a la vez que luchamos para disminuir la brecha de la desigualdad racial y económica en nuestro estado.”

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Otro problema que los empleados de la limpieza han presentado en la mesa de negociaciones, y que ha sido ignorado y no ha sido reconocido por los empleadores, ha sido el volumen de trabajo que sigue aumentado para los empleados de la limpieza.  Muchos trabajadores de las Ciudades Gemelas limpian un equivalente de más de 20 casas por noche cada día. Elia Starkweather trabaja en la limpieza y es miembro de la Local 26, ella está subcontratada para limpiar el edificio Ameriprise en Minneapolis. Ella ha visto con sus propios ojos el aumento del volumen de trabajo, ha visto que el personal ha disminuido y ella tanto tomo su familia sufren por la presión que sigue aumentado para cumplir con todo el trabajo.
“Yo voté para autorizar la huelga por las prácticas laborales injustas porque nuestros empleadores están poniéndole trabas a las propuestas que les hemos presentado las cuales afectan directamente nuestra salud y nuestra posibilidad de poder disfrutar tiempo con nuestras familias.  Estamos haciendo más y más trabajo por menos y menos, al igual que para muchos que viven en Minnesota, a nosotros se nos pone bajo una presión intensa cada noche. Yo limpio un equivalente de más de 20 casas por noche, y eso hizo que me lesionara y eso me duele pues no puedo jugar con mis hijos cuando salgo de trabajar,” dijo Starkweather. “Esto está pasando en todos lados y no está nada bien. Nosotros trabajamos duro y hacemos un buen trabajo, pero estamos luchando para poder tener un volumen de trabajo razonable que nos permita vivir y no solo para poder tratar de sobrevivir. Si nuestros empleadores no quieren tener una conversación real para componer este problema, vamos a tener que ponernos en huelga.”
Junto al grupo de más de 500 trabajadores de la limpieza hubo otros que apoyaron como la Vicegobernadora Tina Smith, quien compartió con los trabajadores de la limpieza palabras de aliento y los elogió por su voto para ira a la huelga y por dirigir la lucha para ayudar a movilizar para que nuestro estado camine en una dirección más justa y más equitativa. “El Gobernador y yo apoyamos su lucha porque sabemos que a veces tenemos que luchar para que se nos trate justamente,” dijo la Vicegobernadora Smith, al dirigirse a los empleados de la limpieza antes del voto para autorizar al Comité de Negociaciones para ir a la huelga por las prácticas laborales injustas.
Los trabajadores de la limpieza han estado negociando con sus empleadores desde octubre y su Contrato Colectivo de Condiciones de Trabajo venció el 31 de diciembre.
Los medios de comunicación cubrieron el evento

Star Tribune – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike if no pact reached by Feb. 14

Workday Minnesota – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike

Pioneer Press – Twin Cities janitors’ union votes to authorize strike if contract isn’t reached soon

Kare 11 – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike vote

CBS – Local SEIU Votes To Strike If Contract Isn’t Reached By Feb. 14

 AP – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike if no contract reached



SEIU Local 26 es el Sindicato de Trabajadores de Servicios a las Propiedades conocido en inglés como Minnesota’s Property Services Union, agrupa a más de 6,000 trabajadores de la limpieza, de la seguridad y a los trabajadores de la limpieza de ventanas en el área metropolitana de las Ciudades Gemelas. SEIU agrupa a nivel nacional a más de 225,000 trabajadores de los servicios incluyendo a más de dos millones de trabajadores de la salud y del sector público.

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Membership Vote – July 26!

The Leadership Assembly ratified the proposed plan for 2014, and created a subcommittee to propose a specific increase in our revenue. This subcommittee presented its proposal back to the stewards on June 14th.The full membership  vote over this proposal to make our union stronger by increasing our revenue, will be July 26th.  Details on the proposal were mailed to all members, and you can get more information by  talking to your steward, or come to the union hall at 706 1st Street N, Minneapolis.

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Proposals for 2014 Leadership Assembly


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Affordable Care Act and Open Enrollment

Affordable Care Act and Open Enrollment

Our annual open enrollment period is here and runs now through October 31, 2013. This is the time when all eligible full time employees can enroll or make changes to their healthcare plan. This year, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there are understandably a lot more questions and confusion than in previous years. We’d like to help make this process as easy as possible, so here’s some information you need to know.

Remember, due to healthcare reform, all adults are required to have health insurance coverage by 01/01/14!

For most Local 26 members, the easiest to obtain and most affordable coverage available will be the union healthcare plan. If you are already enrolled, and don’t need to make any changes or add any dependents to your plan, you do not need to complete a new enrollment form. You coverage will simply continue into the next year with the new benefit improvements included.

Benefit Improvements:

·         Elimination of the annual cap on medical insurance: The current $100,000 calendar year benefit maximum is replaced with an “unlimited” benefit maximum. The rest of the medical insurance plan (through Cigna) will remain the same.

·         Elimination of the annual cap on prescription drugs: The current $5,000 calendar year benefit maximum is replaced with an “unlimited” benefit maximum. The rest of the prescription drug benefit (through Caremark/CVS) will remain the same.

·         Improved Dental: The current plan pays for services on a “fixed schedule” basis, often leaving us with big bills. The new plan (through Delta Dental) will pay for services on a “percentage” basis, which means less out of pocket costs for you.

·         Vision coverage included: The current plan offers no vision coverage, but starting in 2014 the new benefit for vision care (through Cigna Vision) will include a yearly exam and new glasses or contact lenses once a year.

If you are not currently enrolled, all eligible full time employees should have received an enrollment packet by 10/01/13. If you have not received an enrollment packet, please call the union hall at 855-265-6225.  Your enrollment form must be completed and returned to your company’s human resources department no later than 10/31/13.

Part-time workers, spouses, and others not covered on the union plan: Our union healthcare plan will not offer coverage for part-time workers or spouses, so it is important for you to learn about coverage options available through the “healthcare exchange” which may have subsidies available to help afford the necessary coverage. These and other options will be discussed at our upcoming healthcare fair.

Union Healthcare Fair:If you have any questions about the healthcare benefits through our union, or if you want to sign up for new state programs which may cover part-time workers and spouses who are not covered by our union healthcare plan, come to our Local 26 Healthcare Fair. Saturday October 19: 10am-6pm, Sunday October 20: 12pm-3pm, and Monday October 21: 6am-6pm. The location will be our Local 26 Union Hall located at 706 1st St N, Minneapolis, MN. Please contact Barbara Zeiss 202-730-7548 or Barbara.Zeiss@seiufunds.org or the Local 26 hall at 855-265-6225 if you have any questions about your health care benefits.


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No More Unreasonable Workload !!

 Excessive workload is a common problem throughout the janitorial industry. After negotiating 3 contracts we finally won new language that helps us fight against excessive workloads imposed on our members. Winning workload cases is never easy and we know it will always be a fight to achieve reasonable workloads, but this new language has given us a strong tool that has already helped us in several cases Thanks to members working together.in February we won new language in our union contracts that give us the right to demand a “workload review and walkthrough” with a union steward at our buildings.  In April we began training 40 stewards on how to do “walkthroughs”, but the companies tried to stall.  In response, workers and stewards organized, signed petitions, filed grievances and charges with the federal government.  As a result of the building pressure, in the last two weeks we got our first “walkthroughs” and some real victories on workload:

    HARVARD-5th St Towers: This was our first use of the new language, and after a walkthrough of 8 hours, followed by a negotiation between the company and the steward, the janitor won a reduction of a whole floor (equal to about an hour and a half each night).

·SBM-Medtronic: the company announced it would make a series of workload increases, but when the workers all requested “walk throughs”, the company decided to withdraw its proposed changes.

·    ABLE-Washington Square: workers got the company to postpone changes for three months, and job descriptions in English, Spanish and French.

·     ABM-La Salle: the company assigned 20 more hours per week to the building to help the janitors there, after a meeting with the steward and management.

·      ABM-Normandale Lakes: In a meeting with workers, the company agreed to remove 45 minutes of work from a janitor (half the bathrooms on one of his floors).

·      ABM-Best Buy: the workers got ABM to reduce the frequency of vacuuming and recycling to once every two weeks.  They also won an amnesty (no workload disciplines for two months after the change), and detailed colored maps and written descriptions of their jobs.

·         Marsden-Retek: Janitors are pushing the company to add 16 hours of help each week to the building                                                         


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