Union pickets ‘declare independence from poverty wages’

Service Employees Local 1199 (SEIU) picketed outside the Key Bank building July 3 in downtown Cleveland to “declare independence from poverty wages.” The 1199 district representing Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia was “calling on Key Bank CEO and Chair of the Cleveland Clinic Board of Directors Beth Mooney to stand with workers at the clinic who struggle under the weight of poverty wages.” (SEIU release, July 2) Over 100 workers at the clinic were promised a pay increase, up from $13.85 an hour, but were then denied it.

Cleveland Clinic, with over 32,000 workers, is the largest employer in Cuyahoga County, but remains nonunion. KeyCorp is the ninth largest employer, with net profits of $1.8 billion in 2018. CEO Mooney earned over $9 million in compensation last year from KeyCorp alone, not including what she was paid by Cleveland Clinic, AT&T and other companies where she is on the board of directors. 

SEIU Local 1 recently won wage increases to $15 an hour in four years, along with health insurance, for 500 janitors who service downtown buildings, including Key Bank. The fight for $15 and a union continues. As the workers chanted, “If we don’t get it, shut it down! All the way down! Way, way down!”

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