Progressive Union Organizing: The SEIU Justice for Janitors Campaign
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Hurd, Richard W.; Rouse, William
[Excerpt] The Justice for Janitors campaign was conceived during a bitter labor dispute with Pittsburgh's Mellon Bank which started late in 1985. Mellon Bank, having just renewed an Service Employees International Union collective-bargaining agreement, replaced their former cleaning contractor with a nonunion company. The new contractor refused to honor the Mellon-SEIU labor accord and was willing to hire only half of Mellon's 80 janitors on a part-time basis with a substantial pay cut and no benefits. Mellon disclaimed any responsibility, stating that the dispute was strictly between the new cleaning contractor and the janitors. In response the SEIU called a strike, filed unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB and began an active media campaign against Mellon. The strike was settled in September 1987 when the NLRB ruled Mellon to be a "co-employer" of the janitors. Mellon subsequently agreed to reinstate janitors under the union contract and to pay $750,000 in back wages (Wright 1987).
Justice for Janitors; Service Employees International Union; SEIU; labor movement; organizing
Required Publisher Statement: © SAGE. Final version published as: Hurd, R. W. & Rouse, W. (1989). Progressive union organizing: The SEIU Justice for Janitors campaign. Review of Radical Political Economics, 21(3), 70-75. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.