April 2012

Who’s Holding Us All Back?

JP Morgan Chase

JP Morgan Chase could be a part of California comeback, instead they are sitting on $823 billion. That’s money that could be putting us back to work, instead it sits idle.

CEO James Dimon earns so much money that he could personally pay for the proposed $75 monthly healthcare co-pay for every janitor and still earn $15 million a year.

Douglass Emmett

CEO Jordan Kaplan makes an outrageous $9.9 million year. In less than six hours, he makes what a janitor makes in an entire year.

For the 1%, the $75 monthly healthcare co-pay seems like nothing. For a high-priced CEO like Kaplan, $75 is a tip after a couple of bottles of wine.

For a janitor, $75 is just about a day’s take home pay. For a janitor to make ends meet with $75 less per month means making choices no one should have to make. And for many families, it will mean skipping healthcare and hoping for the best.

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Janitors Protest Stock-Options Tax Scheme Which Costs Government Billions

National Effort to Challenge the 1%’s Shrinking Tax Contributions and Unchecked Political Power

Menlo Park, CA – Hundreds of janitors along with community supporters protested today at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park and Chevron’s office in San Ramon to call attention to one of the many gimmicks prospering corporations use to avoid their contributions back to the public institutions that help them prosper. The janitors’ action comes just a week after janitors through-out California voted to strike May 1st in response to contractors continued insistence on reversing the progress they have made transforming their industry over the last decade.

“My parents taught me the value of contributing back to those that helped us”, noted Rosalinda Cuevas, a janitor who cleans the offices of a high tech company in Palo Alto. “These corporations are not guided by this moral principle. And because of this, despite my children’s hard work they will not receive the schooling that allows them to develop their talents and fulfill their aspirations.”

Extreme inequality has led to increased political power by the 1%. The 1%’s increased political power has led to more tax schemes. In its survey of 280 corporations the Center for Tax Justice (CTJ) estimates that “excess stock-option tax benefits” has resulted in a decrease of federal and state revenues over three years of $12.3 billion. Despite sitting on $20 billion in cash, Chevron, by using the “stock-option” tax scheme, has avoided paying $106 million in state and federal taxes over the past three years. Additionally, CTJ estimates, in a special report on Facebook, that through this tax gimmick the corporation would avoid a staggering $3 billion in federal and state tax contributions.

“Corporations in Silicon Valley prosper because of our public schools, colleges, and universities, our public transportation system, our public courts,” argued SEIU Union Service Workers West First Vice President Lauren Jacobs. “These corporations are sitting on an unprecedented amount of cash, they can easily to contribute back to these institutions, to ensure our prosperity is broadened and endures.”

In 2012, 30,000 of USWW’s 40,000 members’ collective bargaining contracts are expiring, including office and tech janitors; security officers who help protect downtown high-rises’ Hollywood Studio janitors; San Francisco apartment workers; and LAX and SFO airport workers. On April 30th the contracts for janitors expire in Silicon Valley, the East Bay and the Sacramento region, in addition to those contracts covering janitors in Los Angeles and Orange County.

The janitors and security officers work for contractors who clean the offices of real estate landlords and their corporate tenants. Over the last decade, the janitors and security officers who make up USWW have lifted their wages above poverty and gained health care benefits. Through the year, these workers will be marching with Occupy and the 99% Movement to continue to take on The 1%.

Nationwide 250,000 property service workers united through SEIU will be renegotiating their contracts with the janitorial and security companies that employ them. Collective bargaining contracts for janitors are expiring in May in San Diego, in June in Seattle, Portland and Denver, and in July San Francisco.

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On Tax Day, Show Them the Power of the 99%

You report one number to shareholders. And you report another number to the government. It may be legal, but is it right?

Corporations are sitting on unprecedented amounts of cash yet they find gimmicks to avoid contributing back to the very institutions that helped them prosper in the first place.

Would these corporations prosper without outstanding state universities and community colleges, without federal highways and local roads, without courts and fire protection and police services?

Now the janitors who clean the offices of these prospering corporations are being asked to go back on their years of hard-earned progress.

That’s why janitors across California have authorized a call for a strike on May 1st to let the 1% know that we will do whatever it takes.

Enough is enough.
The 1% has gone too far.
On Tax Day, show them the power of the 99%.

Rally and Action

Tuesday, April 17th

In San Ramon, CA
Meet at Bollinger Canyon Road and Sunset Drive
11:30 a.m.

In Menlo Park, CA
Meet at Willow Rd and Hamilton Avenue
11:30 a.m.

In Los Angeles, CA
Meet at USWW, 828 West Washington Boulevard
10:30 a.m.

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In the Heart of Prospering Silicon Valley Janitors Vote on Strike Principles

As Contractors Claim Poverty, Union Releases Study Detailing Clients’ Unprecedented Prosperity

Palo Alto, CA – Today over two thousand union janitors marched through the heart of Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Orange County, along with community leaders, the day after the members voted to authorize the bargaining committee to call a May 1st strike if contractor’s final offer failed to live up to good business principles, including dignified wages, affordable health care, and respect for immigrant communities. The statewide contract of SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW)’s 10,000 janitors against the backdrop of California’s thriving corporations who are sitting on nearly $500 billion in cash.

“While our families are working harder and sacrificing more, these corporations are sitting on unprecedented amounts of cash.” Rosalinda De Arteaga is employed as a janitor by ABM, cleaning the offices of Varian.

Income inequality has taken center stage in the national discussion since the rise of the Occupy Movement. The third study in the “How Much is The 1% Holding Back Your Family” series argues that the economic slowdown is a product of unprecedented amount ‘cash and cash equivalents’ corporations are sitting on. California headquartered corporations are sitting on $500 billion in cash; companies located in California nearly $1 trillion. Federal Reserve data reveals that despite the so-called Great Recession the amount of cash companies are sitting on has more than doubled since 2000.

“By sitting on this cash, these CEOs are holding us ALL back,” noted SEIU Union Service Workers West First Vice President Lauren Jacobs. “This is money that could be putting moms and dads back to work, money that could be giving hard working folks a much deserved raise, money that could be strengthening the public institutions like state and community colleges that helped make these corporations prosperous in the first place.”

In 2012, 30,000 of USWW’s 40,000 members’ collective bargaining contracts are expiring, including office and tech janitors; security officers who help protect downtown high rises’ Hollywood Studio janitors; San Francisco apartment workers; and LAX and SFO airport workers. On April 30th the contracts for janitors expire in Silicon Valley, the East Bay and the Sacramento region, in addition to those contracts covering janitors in Los Angeles and Orange County.

The janitors and security officers work for contractors who clean the offices of real estate landlords and their corporate tenants. Over the last decade, the janitors and security officers who make up USWW have lifted their wages above poverty and gained health care benefits. Through the year, these workers will be marching with Occupy and the 99% Movement to continue to take on The 1%.

Nationwide 100,000 property service workers united through SEIU will be renegotiating their contracts with the janitorial and security companies that employ them. Collective bargaining contracts for janitors are expiring in April in Chicago, in May in San Diego, in June in Seattle, Portland and Denver, and in July in San Francisco.

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Airport Security Screeners Kick Off Busy Holiday Travel with Protest for Safe Staffing

San Francisco, CA – On April 5th, San Francisco Airport (SFO) security screeners picketed outside of busy Terminal 2. The screeners greeted passengers on their way to catch early morning flights. Armed with fliers calling for funding to support safe staffing and shorter lines, screeners explained that both airport security and passenger convenience could be at risk.

Funding reductions being forced upon Covenant Aviation Security by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are at issue. Covenant is contracted to staff security screening checkpoints at SFO. The screeners argue that the TSA’s funding proposal could lead to a substantial reduction in security staffing.

“We need funding that will maintain or even increase current staffing levels so we can continue to provide quality service to travelers and the highest standards of security,” said Verena Angel, a security screener at SFO. “Funding reductions probably will drive down standards and extend the lines at checkpoints.”

The security screeners at SFO are recognized as being among the most efficient and effective in the nation. Through a successful labor-management-government partnership that spans more than a decade, airport screeners at SFO deliver the highest quality service – keeping passengers and the airport safe. Despite the successful partnership, screeners have been locked out of discussions with TSA about the current funding.

“Last week, TSA was suggesting reductions as deep as 10 percent. This week, we’ve heard different, conflicting numbers,” Angel said. “How is TSA coming up with these numbers?”

Frontline screeners have had no input in this process. Security screeners are asking for a seat at the table with TSA. They argue that SFO must maintain or increase the number of screeners to keep security operations running at a high level and also to maintain and develop the professional, experienced workforce that airport will need in the future, as passenger volume increases and security requirements are added.

SFO is one of the few airports in the country with increasing passenger volume. The number of travelers has steadily risen over the last eight years. Last year, passenger volume was up by more than four percent.

The workload and duties of screeners also has increased. After TSA awarded the current security contract to Covenant, substantial, previously unspecified work was added to support the opening of a new international terminal and the deployment of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) – initially without additional funding.

“We’re being asked to do more work and take on more responsibilities with less funding and workforce reductions,” Angel said. “Without adequate funding and resources, passengers will wait in longer lines and the Bay Area will lose good jobs – the kind we need to rebuild the economy.”

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The Great Recession? Not for the 1%

On Thursday, April 5th, join janitors in their fight to ensure that the California corporations are putting hard working people back to work, giving families a much deserved raise and lifting up our entire state.

Join us as we stand up to the 1% in our fight for dignified wages, affordable healthcare, adequate staffing, respect for our years of service and the contribution of hard working immigrant communities.

In the Bay Area:
10:45 a.m.
Meet at El Camino Real & Page Mill Road
in Palo Alto
map

In Los Angeles:
Noon
Meet at Avenue of Stars and Constellation Boulevard
(around Century City)
map

In Orange County:
12:30 p.m.
Meet at Fashion Island,
550 Newport Center Drive in Newport Beach
map

In San Diego:
Noon
Meet at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church
4321 Eastgate Mall
map

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