Workers at St. Louis University ratify strong new contract after months of negotiations

SLU JANITORS AND GROUND MAINTENANCE crew workers rallied in front of University President Fred Pestello’s office March 21 to demand a fair contract that gives the essential workers the raises they deserve. Their hard work paid off with a strong new contract. – Labor Tribune file photo

St. Louis, MO — Custodians, grounds keepers, and distribution workers at St. Louis University (SLU) who keep the university clean and safe ratified a strong new contract after months of negotiations and member-led actions. The four-year contract includes increased wages, job protection language, additional sick leave, and more.

This historic victory for the working people who keep SLU up to the standards students, faculty, and visitors expect comes after months of negotiations and actions that included rallies and marches on campus, delegation letters personally delivered to trustees, and continuous efforts by SEIU Local 1 members to fight until a fair contract was negotiated. This campaign was a collaborative effort with community allies who recognize the essential role Local 1 members play both for the campus and the St. Louis Community in maintaining a desirable staple of the city.

The new contract includes favorable outsourcing language that protects working families’ jobs and livelihoods. Management must now give a 60-day notice if they plan to subcontract work, and during that time SLU must offer any open positions that the University has to displaced employees that meet the minimum requirements of the jobs. These working people will have preferential hiring rights and SLU will ensure that the subcontractor offers positions to all affected workers.

“The most important thing for myself and my fellow SLU coworkers was job protection,” said SLU employee Bertha Hollins. “We needed to know that we wouldn’t lose our jobs and livelihoods in the blink of an eye. Working families throughout St. Louis should be able to feel secure in their work, and shouldn’t have to worry about the idea of waking up one day without a job and the struggle that comes after. We fought hard to ensure our jobs were protected.”

“This incredible victory was made possible by the determination of these Local 1 members to get the wages and job security they know they deserve,” said Christian Rak, SEIU Local 1 director of Missouri and Southern Illinois. “This new contract values the essential workers who help ensure SLU is the institution it aims to be for students and faculty by providing pay, benefits, and respect working families deserve.”

“I am proud of my coworkers who fought for months to get the contract we knew we deserved,” said SLU employee Zabrina Herron. “We understood it wasn’t going to be an easy campaign, but we knew what we were fighting for. We know we are essential and we weren’t going to stop until we received a contract that respects us as essential workers.”

“I am thrilled for workers at St. Louis University and proud of my alma mater for handling this conversation with care and intention,” said St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Megan Green.

“This agreement reflects the contributions of SLU’s workers and strengthens the University’s reputation as a pillar of moral excellence. Higher wages, stronger protections, and better benefits help working families and individuals get ahead and ultimately make our city a better place for those who live and work here.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top