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SEIU Local 1 janitors score contract victory for $15/hour wage

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The higher wage will come in year 3 of the contract

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Downtown’s resurgence has left many to question who will benefit from Detroit’s comeback. On June 1, janitors who work in Detroit’s most notable skyscrapers, schools, and Metro Airport kicked off a One Detroit campaign to raise workers’ wages so more can experience a better quality of life and support their families without assistance.

Today, the SEIU Local 1 janitors announced they’ve attained their contract goal, and in year three of their four-year contract, janitors will earn $15 per hour. The union threatened to strike if these demands were not met.

Currently, some janitors work for as low as $9.45, with some relying on public assistance for basic needs. It’s expected that more workers such as security officers, arena staff, and fast food workers will continue to push for a $15 per hour wage and union representation in the coming years.

“In the last five years alone, the Detroit City Council and Wayne County Commission have approved more than $1 billion in tax incentives in and around downtown Detroit,” said Detroit City Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield. “This contract and the campaign that led to it have sent a strong signal that as much as Detroiters celebrate downtown’s revitalization, we recognize that it is meaningless if working families aren’t experiencing the district’s economic boom. As leaders, we must continue to push for economic justice for the people whose hard work powers Detroit’s comeback every day.”

Detroit’s median income sits at $26,249, far below the median income of other large cities. While downtown and Midtown’s resurgence is well-documented, most neighborhoods still struggle with high poverty, poor schools, and blight.