Union Janitors March Downtown Ahead Of Contract Talks

CHICAGO (CBS) — About 3,000 union janitors occupied the plaza outside of Chase Bank in downtown Chicago Sunday afternoon, as the group prepared for contract negotiations.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports, members of the Service Employees International Union chanted “we are the 99 percent” and “si se puede” as they marched from a rally at 175 N. State St. to the Chase offices at 10 S. Dearborn St.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

Negotiations are slated to start in just over a week and the current agreement with commercial office buildings, the city of Chicago and several public school districts expires April 8th.

Among the janitors marching on Sunday was Ed Washington, who said it’s impossible to support his family of four on what he makes cleaning Elihu Yale Elementary School on the South Side.

Washington said he doesn’t buy arguments that business is still suffering the recession and that workers might have to sacrifice.

SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff fired up the crowd at the packed theater, where janitors could listen to the 90 minute-long rally in Polish or Spanish on headsets. He said they will not accept lower wages and a loss of benefits in their next contract.

More from Nancy Harty
  • Lyndia

    Do you hate mulattoes too? What part do you hate? The black side or the honkey side?

  • Charles

    great to see that the middle class is fighting to keep improving their lives. Everything is going up except their pay. They do a great keeping my office clean. This is not about any organization it’s about hard working people that keep our beautiful city clean and our offices down town and suburbs looking as they do. They are the blood and oxygen of our city -with out them who would do their job? not many of us.

  • smash44

    ” . . .Ed Washington, who said it’s impossible to support his family of four . . .”

    Well, you stupid ignorant, entitled black man. Why do you have four kids when you know you can’t support them? This is the crux of the problem right here. Parental STUPIDITY.

  • Justthefacts

    I think the SEIU should be careful with any thoughts of a strike. It’s not a good idea to give Rahm a chance to challenge contracts with union companies and bid those contracts with non union companies. When taxpayers see the cost saving possibility those union janitors will be crying for their jobs back.

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