CLEVELAND, OHIO – The list of actions taken by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration to undermine the rights of working people and to keep their wages low has many residents concerned about the upcoming election this fall. In response to Jackson’s failed record on labor issues, SEIU District 1199 has issued a list of “Seven Major Sins Against Workers” which are listed below.
- Attacking Collective Bargaining – Mayor Jackson’s school reform plan in 2012 put blame on some of the lowest paid workers like secretaries and custodians in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as well as teachers. Jackson used leverage to force the workers into concessions. Many considered the plan an attack on collective bargaining and some provisions mirrored the union busting Senate Bill 5.
- Failed Labor Relations – The City of Cleveland has seen tension with unions that represent city workers such as the Northeast Ohio Firefighters Local 93. Mayor Jackson’s failed approach led to a breakdown in negotiations over EMS and fire integration.
- Union Busting – Mayor Jackson’s administration brought in a law firm to “foil” the plans of city attorneys at the City of Cleveland who wanted to organize with the Teamsters due to years of low pay and job insecurity.
- Supporting Non-Union Labor – Mayor Jackson supported a new Wal-Mart in Steelyard Valley over the concerns of leaders that it would unfairly harm local union grocery stores. Mayor Jackson stood with Wal-Mart, cut the ribbon at the grand opening, shops at the store, and called Wal-Mart a “good citizen.”
- Cutting Union Jobs – Mayor Jackson’s administration supported a switch to the concessions vendor Airmall over the pro-union contractor HMSHost. As a result a local union lost membership and Cleveland lost union jobs.
- Pre-Empting Minimum Wage Increases – As cities across the country raise the minimum wage, Cleveland officials worked with republicans at the Ohio Statehouse to stop even marginal future local minimum wage increases. Mayor Jackson had been “plotting to defeat” the union-led ballot initiative.
- Harming Worker Safety – Mayor Jackson promised Amalgamated Transit Union Local 268 President Rick Jackson that he would meet with the union first if he planned to close Public Square to bus traffic. The meeting never occurred and Mayor Jackson closed the square, resulting in increased safety risk to RTA bus drivers and passengers.
“Mayor Frank Jackson’s track record shows that he has consistently turned his back on union workers,” said Anthony Caldwell, Director of Public Affairs for the Service Employees International Union District 1199. “The working men and women of Cleveland deserve a mayor that is going to wake up every day fighting to improve the lives of middle class families and those living in poverty.”
“SEIU District 1199 stands united with unions and labor allies who oppose Mayor Frank Jackson’s failed record on labor issues,” said Anthony Caldwell. “Just last year, every city in Ohio was denied the ability to make an increase in the minimum wage as the result of a republican anti-labor bill passed at the request of Cleveland officials. Working people who make minimum wage have not forgotten,” Caldwell continued.
“SEIU District 1199 members and their families stand firmly behind Councilman Jeff Johnson because there is no question that he stands on the side of labor and Cleveland’s working people,” said Caldwell. “SEIU District 1199 encourages all labor partners to join the growing call for new leadership at Cleveland City Hall.”
(1) News-Herald, “Cleveland Mayor Takes on Teacher Union Over Reform,” 4/15/12, Online.
(2) Plain Dealer, “Cleveland Firefighters Union President blasts city officials for ‘attack’ on union member,” 3/14/14.
(3) Plain Dealer, “Cleveland City Lawyers Want to Join Teamsters Citing Years of Low Pay,” 3/1/13, Online.
(4) Ideastream, “Walmart Opens at Steelyard Commons,” 9/25/07, Online.
(5) Crain’s Business News, “Workers decry city’s plans for Hopkins,” 3/28/07, Online.
(6) Plain Dealer, “Cleveland officials ask state lawmakers to help quash $15 minimum wage proposal,” 12/2/16.
(7) Plain Dealer, “Cleveland Council assails city officials for banning buses from Public Square,” 12/1/16, Online.