SEIU Local 26 Winter Newsletter

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Local 26 Members Vote on Demands, Kick-off Contract Campaign with Workers’ Rights March in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN —Hundreds of people marched down Central Ave after SEIU Local 26 security officers and janitors voted on their contract demands to open contract negotiations that will impact over 6,000 workers throughout the Twin Cities. Joining the SEIU Local 26 members were members of MN350, 15NOW, CTUL, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Minnesotans for a Fair Economy and others in a march that called for big corporations like U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo to support workers’ rights both through contract fights and in support of the #MPLSWorks policies currently being debated in Minneapolis that call for fair scheduling, paid sick time and an end to wage theft to help address the racial and economic disparities in our city and state.


One of the people at the contract vote and march was SEIU Local 26 member Kevin Chavis, a security officer for Allied Barton in Minneapolis.

“Hundreds of SEIU members came together and voted to fight for things like paid sick time to be able to take care of ourselves and our families in our coming contract negotiations. We work at some of the biggest, wealthiest buildings in the Twin Cities, yet we don’t get adequate paid time off or the wages that we deserve,” said Chavis, who lives in Minneapolis. “It is exciting that other campaigns, including the #MPLSWorks campaign fighting for things like fair schedules, paid sick time and a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis to address our awful racial disparities, are marching today so that the voices of working people in our community are heard loud and clear.”

Elia Starkweather, a SEIU Local 26 member who cleans the CSC Ameriprise building in Minneapolis, said that she was excited to see so many people coming together to fight for things like paid sick time for working families in the Twin Cities because she knows how hard it is for individual workers to raise their concerns to their bosses.

“It isn’t right that we work hard, year after year, making sure buildings in our communities are safe and clean, yet many of us only have one to three days of paid time off if anyone in our family gets sick,” said Starkweather, who lives in Hopkins with her husband and three children. “There are so many of my co-workers who are scared to speak up, and it makes me angry and sad. We all want a better future for our kids. That is why we are coming together to fight for better conditions and dignity for the 6,000 workers in our Union.”

SEIU Local 26 member and St. Paul security officer James Matias kicked off the huge march, led by children with signs naming their dream jobs, highlighting that many workers are fighting for a better future for their children, by linking together all of the various campaigns that are moving.

“We know there are far too many working people in the Twin Cities who face struggles with low pay, lack of paid sick time and things like erratic schedules. Today we are going to march to a few of the corporations that have a direct impact on not only our work lives, but our health through things like their environmental impact,” said Matias. “Working people are facing a crisis, and rich corporations like U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo need to hear our voices. With our vote to come together and fight, along with this huge march, we are showing that our struggles are connected and that we are truly stronger together.”


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.

Minneapolis Works is the worker-led coalition of community, labor and faith groups fighting to improve economic and racial equity in Minneapolis

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Educators, Business Owners, Faith Leaders, and Labor Leaders Fast Outside Rep. Kline’s Office for Bipartisan Immigration Reform

Broad Coalition asks Kline to Listen to the Majority of his Constituents–Including 76% of Second District Republicans–and Pass Reform

On Wednesday, November 13th at 10:30 am, leaders from Minnesota’s education, business, faith, labor, and immigrant communities will fast outside the office of Rep. John Kline to urge him to pass immigration reform. The fast echoes direct actions being carried out in Washington DC and asks Rep. Kline to join his House Republican colleagues that have already signed onto house legislation. Rep. Kline has been the target of multiple grassroots actions this month as he continues to disregard his constituents and take no action on bipartisan reform. This October, Public Policy Polling found that a large majority of Kline’s district, including 76% of republican voters, support immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

In June, the Senate passed a historic, bipartisan immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants contributing to the US; but now, the bill has stalled in the House of Representatives despite overwhelming support from Americans to pass immigration reform this year.

What:   Leaders from Minnesota’s education, business, faith, labor, and immigrant communities will fast outside the office of Rep. John Kline for immigration reform.

Where:  350 Burnsville Parkway, Burnsville, MN 55337

When:  Wednesday, Nov 13, 10:30 am

 Who: Alberto Monserrate (Chair of Minneapolis School Board),  John Keller (Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota), Vic Rosenthal (Jewish Community Action), Maya Santamaria (Latino Business Owner), John Guttermann(ICOM), Asambleas de Derechos Civiles, St Paul Federation of Teachers, ISAIAH, and SEIU.


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Minnesota Commemorates 50th Anniversary of March On Washington

St. Paul, Minn. – On Wednesday, August 28 at 11:00 a.m. Congressman Keith Ellison will join local leaders and groups in a march to the Minnesota State Capitol to commemorate and celebrate the historic March On Washington which occurred 50 years ago on August 28, 1963.


As citizens across the country converge on our nation’s capital, here in Minnesota, social and economic justice groups will come together to commemorate the March and to continue the fight for jobs, freedom and justice. Today, disparities in education, employment, and wages; a fair pathway to citizenship for all immigrants; and a justice system that protects all its citizens are at the forefront of realizing Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a just society. The minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, was $9.45 in 1963. Today, it’s $7.25 nationally and $6.15 in Minnesota.


Congressman Ellison will lead the march starting at Boyd Park in St. Paul at 11:00. The march will follow John Ireland Boulevard, ending at the Minnesota State Capitol South Mall near the War Memorials where Congressman Ellison will kick off a program around noon.


The commemoration is being organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) African-American caucus, AFRAM Minnesota Chapter.



Minnesota Commemoration: 50th Anniversary of March On Washington



Wednesday, August 28

11:00 a.m. – March Begins

12:00 p.m. – Program Begins

(Congressman Ellison will speak at top of program; the reading of “I Have A Dream” speech to happen around 12:30.)



March begins: Boyd Park at Selby & Farrington, St. Paul

Program: Minnesota State Capitol

(The program will happen south of Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. Boulevard, on the south mall near the War Memorials to avoid Capitol construction.)



Congressman Keith Ellison


SEIU Local 284

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota

SEIU Local 26

Nellie Stone Johnson Foundation

Shiloh Temple International Ministries


Neighborhoods Organizing for Change

Education Minnesota

Minnesotans for a Fair Economy

St. Paul Regional Labor Federation


A. Philip Randolph Institute

African American Action Coalition

Occupy Homes MN

MEDIA ADVISORY for Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.

Kate Brickman | Media Relations Coordinator, SEIU | 612-460-1219

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SEIU Local 26 Calls on Members of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to Reject USBank CEO Richard Davis

Minneapolis, MN – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 is urging members of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) to vote against the nomination of USBank CEO Richard Davis to the Board of Trustees. On Tuesday Javier Morillo, President of Local 26, sent a letter to members urging them to contact Richard Davis and ask him to withdraw his name from consideration for the board.

Local 26 represents the security officers who protect art at the MIA, many of whom are themselves accomplished artists. As members of the arts community, they plan to greet those attending Thursday evening’s MIA annual membership meeting, when voting – which has been open online since July 1 – will be closed for Board of Trustee members. Local 26 will be joined in their protest of Davis by fans of the Minnesota Orchestra, as well as members of Young Musicians of Minnesota, who will be playing music outside the meeting before it starts. The group formed this year “to help preserve the Minnesota Orchestra’s 110-year legacy of fostering music students.”

Davis is the immediate past chair of the Minnesota Orchestra’s board and is in charge of the contract negotiations. Shawn Hennessey is a security officer at MIA and a founding member of Rogue Citizen Art Cooperative. He says it’s clear from the ensuing lockout of the orchestra’s musicians and the cancelation of the 2012-2013 season that Davis is not the type of leadership members of the MIA should be looking for. 

“Minneapolis has always been a place where people of all backgrounds have been able to enjoy the incredible art that our community has to offer,” said Hennessey. “People across the country recognize our arts community for its incredible contributions, including everything from music to art to performance. We can’t continue to watch the art community be damaged by corporate interests that have no respect for the institution. We must demand better if we will foster great art today and continue to foster great art into the future.

“Just as my daily job as a security officer is to protect art, I see it as my role as a member of the arts community to protect it from people like Davis,” continued Hennessey.

In the letter Morillo writes:

“Given Richard Davis’s track record at the Orchestra, we are very concerned about the negative influence he may exert on the MIA board. The Orchestra’s recent actions have shown a callous disregard for its employees, the community, and the quality of the institution itself.

“Richard Davis has inflicted catastrophic damage on the orchestra and left fans disheartened and demoralized. Don’t let this happen to the MIA.”

The Minnesota Orchestra has been at a standstill in negotiations for months, with the future of the orchestra very much in limbo. The New York Times has reported that the acclaimed music director has threatened to resign if the lockout is not resolved soon.

The letter urges Richard Davis to withdraw his name from consideration. It also urges members to vote against the slate of nominations should Davis not withdraw. As Morillo notes in the letter, members can’t vote against individual nominees, but instead must vote against the entire slate of nominees.

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May 1th

SEIU 26 and La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles and allies will rally outside of a Wells Fargo located at 2218 E Lake St and deactivate accounts en masse. Following that, they will be joined by Representative Keith Ellison (D-CD5) for a forum at the corner of Lake St. and 14th Ave. S. to discuss immigration reform.

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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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On Heels of 1-Day Strike, Twin Cities Security Officers Reach Tentative Agreement to Strengthen Middle Class

Minneapolis, MN – Twin Cities security officers are celebrating today after reaching a tentative agreement with all of their employers that strengthens the middle class through stable, full-time jobs. The major victory came late Thursday, when the remaining six subcontractors finally came to a tentative agreement with 2,000 security officers.

“We are exhausted, but elated,” said Elena Krelberg, Local 26 security officer. “We won because we all stood together. Standing shoulder to shoulder with our community, security officers and janitors together won the best contracts in the history (more…)

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After One-Day Strike, Talks Resume Today Between Twin Cities Security Officers and Employers

188DonnaMinneapolis, MN — After a one-day strike that involved hundreds of SEIU Local 26 security officers and an agreement with one locally based contractor, a federal mediator has confirmed to Local 26 that six remaining contractors are headed back to the bargaining table this morning. Today workers participated in a one-day strike over unfair labor practices after six of their seven subcontractors failed to reach an agreement to jointly create stable, full-time jobs. SEIU Local 26 security officers called on their employers to come back and negotiate until they can reach a fair contract – or face additional, larger strikes.

“It’s not easy to give up a day’s pay,” said Kevin Chavis, a security officer subcontracted by Allied Barton for Wells Fargo Center. “But it’s a sacrifice we must make to show our bosses that we are serious about getting a fair contract. We all deserve fair wages and affordable health care for our families. If they aren’t willing to offer the same fair and equitable conditions, they need to know that our strength will continue to grow if we must face an additional strike.”

Chavis is a military veteran and has one son. He joined hundreds of security officers who picketed locations throughout the Twin Cities. The largest picket happened at Wells Fargo Center, where Chavis works. At one point, more than 150 workers and their allies marched in front of the building, calling for Wells Fargo and other corporate elite like U.S. Bank and Target, to stand up as leaders in the state.

“The CEO of Wells Fargo could make one call and settle this contract,” said Demetruis Moore, a security officer with AlliedBarton. “He holds the power, just like all the CEOs of these companies do, to tell the companies they contract to help create good jobs, not destroy them.”

Security officers picketed buildings from six of their seven employers – G4S, AlliedBarton, Securitas, Viking Security, ABM Security, Whelan – who have all failed to reach an agreement with workers. They will head back to the bargaining table with Local 26 security officers Thursday morning.

Security officers did not picket the properties subcontracted to American Security, which is locally owned. The St. Paul-based company came to a tentative agreement with workers early this morning around 4:00 a.m. after more than 14 hours of emergency bargaining. It is the largest security contractor in the Twin Cities, employing approximately 700 of the 2,000 workers.

“Security officers with locally owned American were able to win a deal which matched the standards Local 26 janitors were able to win this past weekend,” said Chavis. “American Security took this step to strengthen the middle class, the janitorial subcontractors were able to take this step, why can’t the rest of the security subcontractors do the same? Wells Fargo needs to demand its subcontractors treat workers fairly, just as others have done.”

More than 4,000 Local 26 janitors reached a tentative agreement last weekend after 31 consecutive hours of negotiations. They will vote to ratify the contract on Saturday.

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Twin Cities Security Officers Call One-Day Strike Today to Protect the Middle Class

Minneapolis, MN — Just after 4:00 a.m., SEIU Local 26 security officers reached a tentative agreement with one of the subcontractors, American Security, after 14 hours of emergency bargaining through the night. American Security is the market leader in the Twin Cities and also based in St. Paul. Due to the tentative agreement, security officers will not be striking against American Security. The remaining six employers would not agree to the tentative deal, however.

Security officers are today launching a one-day strike against the remaining (more…)

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