SEIU: Negotiations Begin Over 'Model Contract' to Lift Thousands of Midwestern Service Workers Out of Poverty
According to a recent PR Newswire release:
Just days after launching their groundbreaking "Three Cities One Future" Campaign, janitors headed to the bargaining table in Cincinnati today to negotiate a historic model contract that will create a new economic standard for 165,000 service workers in the Midwest. Initially impacting more than 4,000 janitors in the three cities in the coming months, the union contract will set minimum standards in pay, access to health care, and working hours for janitors employed by ABM, Jancoa, Professional Maintenance of Cincinnati, Aetna Building Maintenance, Scioto Corp, CSI, and One Source. The contractors provide janitorial and other services to commercial office buildings, malls, banks, universities, airports, museums, and municipal, county, and state offices throughout the region.
"No matter what city we're from — we're all working hard and fighting every day just to survive," says DD Tillman, a Cincinnati janitor and member of the workers' bargaining committee. "Now we're fighting side by side for a chance at a better life."
Across the three cities, janitors are currently paid as little as $26 a day, with few earning more than $64 a day. Without access to affordable health insurance or full-time work, janitors and their families often struggle to cover basic expenses including rent and utilities — and most cannot afford even basic medical care. Meanwhile, according to the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, the cost of living for a family of four in the cities ranges from $40,584 to $44,892 per year.
A Road Map for Lifting Workers, Communities Out of Poverty
The workers' contract talks come on the heels of a trio of "Three Cities One Future" rallies in Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Columbus where community leaders raised concerns over the growing gap between the poorest and the wealthiest citizens of their communities and expressed their support for workers' efforts to improve their lives.
With thirty-nine Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis, janitors and their supporters are calling on area business leaders to support good jobs with health care for these communities. Eighteen Fortune 500 companies have headquarters in the three cities — including Nationwide Insurance, Procter and Gamble, and Eli Lilly — with combined annual revenues of more than $365 billion, or $1 billion per day.
"It's time for the multibillion dollar companies who reap their profits from our communities to take some responsibility for our communities," says Joanne Sanders, Vice President of the City-County Council in Marion County, Indiana. "This contract is a road map to a better future not only for Indianapolis, but also for Cincinnati and Columbus."
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