JANITORS

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


Katra

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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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Workers Vote to Ratify New Contracts, Celebrate A Win for Working Families

Minneapolis, MN – After two months without a contract, hundreds of hours of negotiations, and a one-day strike, today SEIU Local 26 janitors and security officers voted to approve new contracts which will help strengthen the middle class in the Twin Cities.

“This is a major victory for working families,” said Margarita Del Angel Lopez, a janitor who works at the IDS Center in Minneapolis. “We work hard to support our families, we fought hard against cuts that would have destroyed thousands of jobs. This shows that when we stand together, we can move forward together. These are the best contracts in the history of the local service sector industry.”

“Suburban security officers have been working for years without a raise,” said Fred Anthony II, a security officer from St Paul. “Some of them haven’t had a raise in up to eight or 10 years. This is the first time they have guaranteed contracts, guaranteed health care, guaranteed job security. It helps bring them out of poverty.”

More than 6,000 janitors and security officers won $1.20 raises over three years, which will pump $48 million into local communities. They also protected stable, full-time positions for thousands of workers. In addition, janitors and security officers secured better employer-based healthcare coverage, which will enable workers to access affordable coverage, rather than be forced to rely on public programs paid for by taxpayers.
This marks the first contract for 1,000 suburban security officers who formed their union with SEIU Local 26 in January 2011 – in addition to getting raises for the first time in years, they gained employer-based healthcare coverage for the first time ever.

“So often, we see the rich get richer, while the rest of us continue falling behind,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “Seeing working people win is a very important thing. It’s a beautiful thing. And so congratulations to all of our members who worked hard for this win. Together, we are working toward a better future for all of Minnesota, where people who work for a living are able to make a living. We showed that the labor movement is alive and well in Minnesota.”

SEIU Local 26 janitors reached a tentative agreement last (more…)

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This Is Your Victory !!

On Friday, over 100 of our elected bargaining committee members met with both security and janitorial companies, before our deadline for a new contract. After more than 31 hours of marathon negotiations through the night, the janitorial companies agreed to a great new contract including:

  • - $1.20 raise over 3 years (50 cents, 35 cents, 35 cents)
  • - Protected full time jobs (the companies had proposed to make more than 1000 jobs into part time)
  • - Improvements in our healthcare benefits (individual coverage at $35/mo, and individual plus kids $150/mo, and elimination of annual maximums for pharmacy and inpatient care)
  • - More sick days and improved vacation accrual, disability pay, grievance procedure.

Next Step :

Ratification Vote This is a big step forward for office janitors! As a result of the tentative agreement, our strike is cancelled, and we will have the member ratification vote this Saturday, March 2nd, 11am at the Local 26 hall. Find out more about the ratification event here.

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Five Years Ago, Security Officers in SEIU Local 26 Struck and Won! Now it is our turn.

“Our manager told us we would lose our job if we struck. But we went on strike and every single officer went back to work.” ,Dawn McCarthy, American Security, 180 E 5th St

“I hear the janitor’s bosses are using the same old scare tactics they tried with security officers. Don’t believe them! We struck and we won” ,Kim Martini, Securitas, US Bank

“We had a terrible healthcare plan, that left us with big bills, but after we struck, we won a new healthcare plan that doesn’t leave us with huge bills.”,John Graham, Security, Ameriprise

“I hope that janitors will decide to stand up like we did. Everyone at my building struck, and we won.”,Renita Whicker, ABM US Bancorp

“I hope that janitors will decide to stand up like we did. Everyone at my building struck, and we won.” ,Renita Whicker, ABM US Bancorp

"I work for American /Marsden. At my building we all went on strike, and we won a great contract.” ,Howard Worley, American Security, Town Square

“I saw the letter ABM gave to janitors. They gave us almost exactly the same letter, trying to scare us, but we stood together, struck, and won.” Tommy Covington, ABM Security, US Bancorp

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Strike vote set for Feb 9th

Our bargaining committee unanimously recommends a YES vote. 

Below are questions and answers about a strike over Unfair Labor Practices:

  • Why is our bargaining committee recommending that we vote yes for a strike? Our bargaining committees, made up of over 100 of our co-workers, have been negotiating for new union contracts since November. The companies have refused to agree to many of the same standards that janitors and security officers in other cities already receive.  Instead of bargaining in good faith, in many cases the companies have stalled, proposed to move us backwards, and tried to intimidate our members.  Our elected bargaining committee unanimously recommends a YES vote for a one to two day strike to stop these unfair labor practices.
  • Who decides if we strike?  We are a democratic union.  The first step is the membership must vote to give authorization to our bargaining committee to call a strike.  This membership vote is set for February 9th, see details below.  If the membership votes yes, then the second step is the bargaining committee will decide if and when it is necessary to call a strike, and decide the date.
  • Can I be fired for participating in a strike?  It is our right to strike under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.  It is illegal for our employer to replace us permanently, fire, or discipline us for participating in a strike over unfair labor practices.
  • What should I do if my manager says we will loose our jobs if we strike or picket?It is illegal for your manager to threaten to fire or discipline you for striking or picketing.  Please report any threats immediately to your steward or the union hall.
  • Our Union contract expired on January 1st.  Are we still protected by the union?  Yes, we are still part of the union.  Even though the contract has expired, by law, all of the wages, benefits and working conditions in our contract must remain the same until the bargaining process is completed.  This means that we cannot be fired or disciplined unjustly.  If your manager tries to cut your hours or change your working conditions, you must report it immediately to your steward or the union hall.
  • Can I be disciplined for talking about the union or the strike?:  No, it is illegal for your manager to discipline you or treat you differently for talking about the union or the strike.  If you are allowed to discuss family matters or sports or the weather at work, then you can discuss the union.
  • Have janitors or security officers struck before?  Yes, Janitors across the country, including Chicago and Houston, struck and won major improvements.  Five years ago in the Twin cities, security officers in the same buildings where we work went on a one day strike and won 50 cent raises.  At the end of these strikes, the workers all came back to work and no one lost their job.
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Are They Crazy ?

Companies propose to slash our wages and benefits by:

~ Cutting our Full Time Jobs:

The companies’ proposal on January 8th would replace hundreds of full-time positions with part-time positions by changing Article 13, which sets requirements for the number of full-time positions in each building. Before we won Article (10 years ago),almost all janitorial work in the Twin Cities was part-time. Now most janitors are Full-Time and make $13.42 per hour. If your position becomes part-time,it means you would lose almost $2.50 per hour ! (The rate would be $10.95, plus you would lose your health insurance,vacation, and sick days.) How would the companies’ proposal affect your building ?See below:

1-Large Buildings Downtown(500,000 square feet or greater) 1 in 4 positions would     become part time.

2-Medium Buildings Downtown(250,000 square feet or greater ) 1 in 2 positions    would become part time.

3- Any Buildings in the Suburbus, all positions would become part-time.

~ $ 0 Pay Raise, and going backwards up to $2.50/hr:

The companies proposed no raise for 2013. Those who are cut from full-time to part-time would lose $2.50 per hour. Pay for full-time janitors in medium or small downtown buildings (less than 500,000 sq ft) would also drop a dollar per hour to $12.35. The companies tried to convince us that these wage cuts would just be for new employees, not the current janitors. But what do you think will happen to your job if suddenly all of the new hires make dollars less than you do? The spokesperson for the companies even acknowledged that other companies would try to undercut each other with these lower wage rates.

“ Today(1-9-2013) was a very sad day for all the janitorial workforce. We felt under-valued and unappreciated.” Brahim, Marsden

“It is an insult. The companies are playing with us in their proposal to cut our salaries. We must show our strength on the march on January 24th.” Zoila from ABLE

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A New Year, but the same old story from janitorial companies

After five full days of negotiations, the companies still can’t seem to get themselves together.  At the last meeting on December 27th, the companies didn’t come until 1:30pm (we started at 10:00am) and then at the last minute they announced they didn’t have the economic presentation they told us they would bring!  We still are waiting for them to agree to a single one of the 23 articles where janitors proposed improvements.

             A tale of two cities

Minneapolis

 Pittsburgh

Wage for full time janitors per hour 2012

$13.42

$15.37

Health Insurance contribution by company per employee per hour

$1.05

$3.35

Pension contribution per employee per hour

None

$1.00

Total Cost  to company per employee

$14.53

$19.67

The companies have claimed before that the rent tenants pay are much higher in other cities, so they can afford to pay them more.  The only problem is …  the average rent is actually higher in Minneapolis ($24/sq ft) than in Pittsburg ($21/sq ft)!

 

I am so frustrated with what happened today at the negotiations. The companies didn’t follow through on their word to present their economic proposal. We must organize and get ready for a fight in January” Jenny Polio, ABM

“The companies are just stalling. As my Latino sisters say: ‘Mucho Trabajo, Poco Dinero’ (a lot of work but little money)” Maryan Nur, Marsden

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