SEIU Local 1 St. Louis janitors win historic new contract with strongest raises yet, putting $15.3 million into regional economy

SEIU LOCAL 1 ST. LOUIS JANITORS rallied in downtown St. Louis Jan. 27 to demand a fair contract. They won it, with higher pay, protected healthcare and other gains. – Labor Tribune photo

More than 4,000 St. Louis-region working families to see wage increase following launch of janitors’ One St. Louis campaign in October

After a militant janitor-led campaign, including civil disobedience and a strike authorization, SEIU Local 1 janitors voted overwhelmingly to ratify a strong new contract with historic raises and better benefits. The new three-year agreement, which covers 2,100 janitors, will put $15.3 million into the local economy, strengthening communities across the region.

“We made a historic demand, in line with the Ferguson Commission’s recommendations, and we won our strongest raises ever, which will help us support our families and communities,” said SEIU Local 1 janitor Maureen Sims, who cleans the Wells Fargo Building. “Because we came together, we won a strong new contract and helped raise wages for all working people across St. Louis.”

DEMANDING $15 NOW, banner drapped won the front of the parking garage at Washington and 7th streets in downtown St. Louis Jan. 27, as janitors rallied for a new contract. – Labor Tribune photo

The new three-year contract guarantees:

  • Annual wage increases which will help janitors provide for their families.
  • Protected healthcare as costs rise across the country.
  • Paid sick days to ensure janitors can take care of their health.
  • Additional vacation days allowing janitors to spend time in their community and contribute to the local economy.
  • A stronger pension to help janitors save for retirement.
  • Protected class language for gender identity and gender expression.

“When janitors kicked off the fight for One St. Louis, we started a movement to win higher pay and good union jobs for all,” said SEIU Local 1 janitor Charles Harris. “This fight was never just about janitors; it’s about winning a better future for working families across our region, and we achieved that goal.”

In 2019, graduate student workers and Local 1 campus janitors came together at Washington University in St. Louis, winning a path to $15 for 1,200 campus workers.

Following a unanimous resolution at the Board of Aldermen supporting a $15 wage for Local 1 janitors, the City announced the implementation of a $15 wage for civil service workers.

Days after janitors and allies were arrested in civil disobedience in the heart of downtown, County Executive Sam Page put County and contracted workers on a path to $15. After janitors launched their fight for One St. Louis in October, more than 4,000 working families will see their wages rise across the City and County.

“By coming together for One St. Louis, janitors are leading the way in making our region more equitable across racial lines for working families,” said Forward Through Ferguson Executive Director David Dwight IV. “Business, civic and elected leaders have an ongoing role to play in raising wages and creating good-paying union jobs to ensure all working people have the opportunity to thrive.”

With the racial income gap in the St. Louis region growing by more than 10 percent since 2010, the historic new contract, good raises and better benefits will help make the region more equitable. While the fight began with janitors, Local 1 members will continue to fight for One St. Louis – $15 and good union jobs for graduate student workers, fast food workers, healthcare workers and more.


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