SBM Takes Over Contract from Able Services
Our union janitors at Microsoft have a new employer—SBM Site Services. As a union, we’ve worked hard to keep our janitors’ jobs stable through this transition.
Together, we’ve made sure our janitors maintained their seniority and healthcare. We looked out for those who needed help in applying for their jobs and ensured that the paperwork went smoothly.
By looking out for each other, our members demonstrated that a strong union can mean job stability, and making sure we don’t let each other fall through the cracks.
Janitors who clean the office buildings at Seattle University just voted YES to joining our union. This group of workers was non-union for over ten years, until they came together this summer and decided to fight for better wages, better healthcare, and a safe workplace.
In coming together over the past several months, the WFF janitors have formed a strong bond and found their voice. Their next step is to negotiate their work contract. They’ve elected a bargaining committee to represent them in negotiations with their employer, and they’re ready to fight for better jobs and better lives for their families. Justice for Janitors!
Rally Celebrated Janitorial Contract Wins, Supported Non-Union Security Officers
This summer, union janitors came out to the annual Justice for Janitors rally to celebrate the wins of their contract campaign, and to support the SIS security officers who are organizing to form a union. J4J Day celebrates one of the most successful campaigns in labor history, which has brought together more than 250,000 janitors across the country as they’ve fought together for wages and benefits that can support their families.
In Seattle, our union janitors celebrated the contract they fought for last year—which won the continuation of full-family health coverage, a path to earning more than $15/hour, and new protections against overwork.
Union Janitor Amir Kalabic spoke at the rally. “We came to meetings, we showed up at events like this, we sat down to negotiate, and we talked to our coworkers about the importance of what we were doing. And it worked,” Amir said. “We got these things because we fought for them together. This is the only way to make sure our jobs are the kind of jobs that can help us take care of our families,” he said.
Union janitors have a history of standing up for other workers as they fight for fairness in the workplace. They continued this tradition by marching to Amazon to call on the tech company to do right by its contracted security officers who work for SIS.
“I’m a janitor and I’m in the union, so I have benefits, including sick pay and medical. I work in the same building at Amazon as some SIS security officers. I know they don’t have a union, so they don’t have protections from unfair supervisors and can be fired easily,” said Union Janitor Ifrah Elmi. “I choose to speak out for them because I believe in speaking up for other people’s rights,” she said.
Lalesa’s personal story is a must-read.
Please take the time to take it in, and share it with someone you know who may not understand the position and perspective of janitors.
Join Jose and other workers at 1:30pm at Westlake Park on June 17th to Raise America and get Justice for Janitors!
June 15th 2014 marked the 24th anniversary of Justice for Janitors Day. J4J arose in Los Angeles as a campaign to address the poverty wages and maltreatment of janitors. Since that time, J4J has risen as an international movement that focuses attention on creating real opportunities for low-wage workers and the communities they live in by transforming minimum wage jobs into living wage jobs that provide dignity, respect and a voice on-the-job.
On Friday, June 13, SEIU Local 6 members commemorated Justice for Janitors day with a March and Rally in Westlake Park and Downtown Seattle as well as a Good Jobs Spokane Rally in Spokane’s Cowley Park.
In Seattle, workers rallied around an important message: Our hard work deserves a safe and just workplace!
Local 6 Janitors used the annual Justice for Janitors Day to launch their campaign for safer workplaces, a critical fight for their health and well-being. The intensified workload being demanded of janitors is causing higher injury rates. According to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) more injury claims from janitors are accepted than from any other industry. Between 2003 to 2011 L&I accepted injury claims for janitors sustained by overexertion increased by 260 percent and the average compensable claim increased by over $10,000.
“I’ve worked as a janitor for 18 years. I began soon after I came to Seattle from Ethiopia,” said Birnesh Tefar. “Ten years ago we cleaned about 30,000 square feet a night; today its 60,000. That’s like cleaning 40 houses every night.”
Last August the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington released a report documenting the increased injuries and stress janitors face. “We know janitorial work is physically demanding and our members meet that challenge every night,” said SEIU Local 6 President Sergio Salinas. “But we need to ensure their hard work is accompanied with safety standards and training that end the injuries and suffering.”
Others, including additional Union members and City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, spoke passionately about workers rights, fairness and the power of organizing. Another speaker, Alicia, shared the tragic story of her mother, who collapsed while alone on the job and died days later.
The rally moved throughout downtown Seattle, raising voices and bringing these workload and safety issues to the public’s attention.
Workers deserve a safe workload and a safe workplace. They deserve living wage jobs that provide dignity, respect, and a voice on the job!
Check out photos from our rallies on Facebook:
Justice 4 Janitors went global in 2013!
Our traditional June 15th date of celebration and remembrance of janitors who have shed blood and sweat to raise the standards of our industry took place on June 17th to coincide with actions around the world.
Janitors in Africa, Asia, Europe, South and North America are taking to the streets to continue the fight for good wages, healthcare, and healthy communities.
Locally, we continue the fight for Commonsense Immigration Reform (CIR) by removing the barriers and cleaning the path to U.S. Citizenship.
View all the photos here.