Kansas City Janitors, members of SEIU Local 1, who clean Kansas City office buildings, recently won a historic new contract.
These Janitors won an 18% raise lifting wages to $15/hr by the end of the contract! This is a huge relief considering the prices of rent, gas, and food prices have skyrocketed in Kansas City.
Before this victory these essential Janitors were paid 13.53/hr on average, and many were paid Missouri’s minimum wage of $11.15/hr– it wasn’t easy. Longtime SEIU Local 1 member and Janitor at Woodley Building for 14 years, Terry Long knows it well.
“Throughout my time as a janitor, I have seen firsthand how working conditions and workplace culture change under different contractors,” said Long. “It was important to me that not only myself but all my coworkers were treated fairly and felt safe in our workplace so I decided to get involved in the union and fight for what I believed we deserved.”
Along with the raises, Janitors also won essential increases in their benefits, such as two more days of sick leave, which meant a 200% increase in sick leave.
This victory is also opening new doors for essential janitors in Kansas City. They proved that if we stick together, regardless of background, language, or affinities, working people in the Heart of America and all over the country can win big and improve everyone’s lives.
“I learned that we really are stronger together. When working people come together, demand what we rightfully deserve and support each other on the way – we can win big,” Long said. “This contract is only just the start. We are confident in each other and in our union representatives – we will continue to build power.”