by Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Twin Cities security officers and janitors are headed back to the bargaining table, after their contracts with maintenance and security companies expired.
The contracts for security officers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as 4,200 janitors that clean commercial buildings in the seven-county metro area, expired Dec. 31 said Javier Morillo, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 26 based in Minneapolis.
“The members of Local 26 keep those commercial office spaces safe and clean,” Morillo said.
The 4,200 janitorial workers with SEIU voted to strike in 2009, but reached a contract settlement before work stopped. About 1,000 security officers walked out in a one-day strike in Minneapolis and St. Paul in 2008, but agreed to a contract in April.
Union negotiators return to the bargaining table this week to meet with maintenance and security companies, after contracts for thousands of janitors and guards expired.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that deals covering 4,200 janitors around the metro and building security staff in Minneapolis and St. Paul, expired Dec. 31.
The sides narrowly averted a strike at the last labor deal in 2010.
Mark Reilly manages daily and weekly coverage at the Business Journal newsroom.
Eric Fought, 612-223-4744, email@example.com
MINNEAPOLIS — A march in downtown Minneapolis is planned for Monday, December 17 as Twin Cities area janitors and security guards continue contract negotiations through SEIU Local 26. Allies from throughout the wider community who stand with the workers seeking to improve their respective industries will join them.
Income inequality is at its worst rate ever. As the middle class shrinks and poverty soars, the 1% is richer than ever. These workers believe strongly that they deserve salaries that can support their families and keep them out of poverty along with affordable, quality healthcare to take care of those families.
More than 7,000 janitors, security officers, airport service workers and retail cleaners are standing together to improve sub-contracted industries in Minnesota. They stand up not only for themselves, but also for all sub-contracted workers, who more and more are the face of the economy that the 1% has forced on all of us.
On Monday they will march in downtown Minneapolis to send a strong message: they are taking their communities back from the 1% and working to unlock their future.
Monday, December 17, 2012, 11:00 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center, 300 Sixth Street South, Minneapolis
SEIU Local 26 members and leaders, other concerned working Minnesotans
Event SATURDAY, November 17 at 12:15 p.m.
ST. PAUL — More than 7,000 janitors, security officers, airport service workers and retail cleaners are standing together to improve sub-contracted industries in Minnesota. They stand up not only for themselves, but also for all sub-contracted workers, who more and more are the face of the economy that the 1% has forced on all of us.
These workers will gather on Saturday to discuss these concerns and to prepare for upcoming contract negotiations through SEIU Local 26, Minnesota’s property service union.
WHAT: SEIU Local 26 Contract Convention
WHEN: SATURDAY, November 17, 2012, 12:15 p.m.
WHERE: St. Paul Central High School, 275 Lexington Parkway North, St. Paul
WHO: Elected officials, SEIU Local 26 members and leaders, other concerned working Minnesotans
MINNEAPOLIS, MN– Starting on Tuesday, the Houston janitors’ unfair labor practices strike will spread to 8 cities across the United States, including here in Minneapolis.
When: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: 8th St. and Nicollet Ave. Downtown, Mpls. (US Bank Building
Early this week SEIU Local 1 janitors will fan out around the country to establish picket lines against their janitorial contractors in Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Ramon and Oakland in California, and Boston, followed on Thursday in Los Angeles and Denver. In addition, janitors and their supporters in more than a dozen cities across the U.S. and Canada will rally this week. SEIU represents more than 150,000 janitors in the United States.
As the Houston strike heads into its second week, more than 400 janitors in 18 buildings are on strike and it is expected to grow next week. Already, the strike has garnered local and national support including activist/actor Danny Glover, Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza and NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous. Earlier this month, Glover joined Green and Jackson Lee to announce the establishment of a task force to protect the janitor’s first amendment rights, while Jealous lifted the plight of the janitors’ during his keynote address at the NAACP Convention in Houston on Monday.
“What’s happening in Houston is a microcosm of what’s happening to our whole country,” said Elsa Caballero, State Director for SEIU Local 1 Texas. “The gap between the richest 1% and working families is growing every day. It’s going to take bold action to rebuild our country’s middle class.”
The Houston janitors’ union contract expired on May 31st. While in bargaining with their employers, janitors asked for a modest raise from $8.35 per hour to $10 per hour to be phased in over four years. Janitorial contractors responded by offering a raise of just $.50 over five years – an almost certain promise that janitors will continue to live in poverty. When janitors refused to accept this offer, they were met with harassment and intimidation by their employers. This prompted workers to call a city-wide strike on July 11th in response to unfair treatment.
Just like here in Minneapolis, Houston janitors clean the offices of some of the richest corporations in the world yet they struggle to make ends meet. In Houston that includes profitable corporations like Chevron, Hines, Brookfield, Shell Oil, and JP Morgan. Despite record profits and inflated CEO pay, janitors who clean Houston’s office buildings are paid just $9,000 a year.
The Houston commercial real estate market is the best performing market in the US in terms of demand. Average commercial rental rates in Houston are higher than rates in Chicago, for example, where janitors are paid more than 3 times as much annually as Houston janitors.
In Spanish-Language Ad Campaign, SEIU and Priorities USA Action Blast Mitt Romney’s Extreme Immigration Policies
WASHINGTON, DC — The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Priorities USA Action today released the second round of television and radio ads in their groundbreaking, joint $4 million Hispanic media ad campaign (“Mitt Romney: In His Own Words”). The ads are running in the key battleground states of Colorado, Nevada and Florida.
The second round of ads focus on Mitt Romney’s stand on the DREAM Act and immigration reform. In the ads, Hispanic voters react to video clips of Romney’s incendiary campaign rhetoric. For example, during the recent GOP Primary contest, Romney resorted to stereotyping and accused immigrants of coming to the United States looking for government support or a “free deal.”
Denver voter Tomas Perez, a naturalized citizen, said he considers Romney a danger for the Latino community, and he will not vote for him November.
“I don’t know what he means with ‘free,'” said Perez, a member of SEIU Local 105. “We contribute to the treasury, we work, we try hard, we pay our taxes.”
Romney has repeatedly said he would veto the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a path to citizenship for children who were brought to this country without documents. Further, Romney criticized President Obama’s decision last Friday to grant administrative relief to DREAM-eligible students.
“When I heard what Mitt Romney said, about why he thinks we as immigrants come to this country, and that he opposes the DREAM Act, I thought this is not right, he should not be our President if he does not understand that we value hard work and we come here seeking better opportunities for our families,” added Perez, the Denver voter.
“Not only is Romney offensive, he is wrong,” said Eliseo Medina, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer. “Let us be clear-Romney opposes the DREAM Act, devalues immigrants by not recognizing our hard work and contributions to this country, and supports Arizona like lawsthat want to make life so miserable for immigrants that we would self-deport.
“He insults the intelligence of every voter and assumes we will all gullibly follow his twists and turns of his positions,” Medina added. “But Latino voters are not confused about where Romney stands on issues such as jobs and immigration, and they know he has no understanding of the everyday lives of Latinos and all working families.”
The ad campaign highlight’s Mitt Romney’s position on issues that Hispanic families care about. The first round of ads focused on Mitt Romney’s statements about jobs and the economy. Those ads, along with the immigration ads, will continue to air in these battleground states of Colorado, Nevada and Florida.
Bill Burton, senior strategist for Priorities USA Action, said, “Mitt Romney could not be more out of touch with Latino families. Romney says immigrants come to American because they ‘are looking for a free deal,’ while calling the DREAM Act a ‘handout’ and promising to veto it. Instead of proposing meaningful policy ideas to reform immigration, Mitt Romney is more interested in questioning motives of hardworking families aiming for the American Dream.”
“With each passing day, Mitt Romney continues to clarify why President Obama is by far the better choice for Latino voters and all working families,” said SEIU National Political Director Brandon Davis. “The president remains committed to focusing on good job creation, ending devastating cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, calling on the rich and large corporations to pay their fair share in taxes and signing into law Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”
The immigration-focused ads will begin airing on the same day that SEIU announces its largest and most-targeted political field campaign in the union’s 91-year history.
To watch the new ads, visit, http://action.seiu.org/page/content/06152012/