About Us - SEIU
Local 87 - San Francisco, California
The SEIU was founded in 1921 in Chicago
as the Building Services Employees Union (BSEU); its first members
were janitors, elevator operators, and window washers.
Ninety years ago, members of seven small
flat janitor unions dared to dream they could build their strength
by forming a single organization, the Building Service Employees
International Union, BSEIU. A union of mostly immigrant workers,
BSEIU was primarily organized of janitors and window washers
in its early years--workers who were excluded from other unions
at the time.
BSEIU faced opposition from building
owners, the courts, and even other unions, but managed to quickly
grow from 200 members in 1921 to 250,000 by 1960.
In 1968, the BSEIU changed its name
to Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The Chicago-based
Local 1, the union's first local union, continues to unite janitors,
security officers, and other property service workers for justice
at the workplace and in our communities today.
From those humble beginnings grew an
organization of 2.2 million janitors, nursing home workers, nurses,
child care providers, security officers, county and city workers,
and other workers.
Today SEIU is the fastest-growing union
in North America, uniting workers in the United States, Canada
and Puerto Rico. Over 25 percent of our members whom identify
as immigrants - a constant tribute to the union's roots. From
the start, SEIU has embraced its heritage as a union of immigrants
and has stood on the frontline of immigrant justice.
SEIU Local 87
One of the first SEIU locals was SEIU
Local 87. Our Janitors Union in San Francisco was started during
the 1930s by George Hardy. Hardy's leadership and worker action
improved wages, benefits and working conditions for the janitors
who worked in San Francisco's office buildings.
Under future leaders such as Herman
Eimers, Rex Kennedy, and Robert Parr, members of Local 87 continued
to enjoy improved wages, benefits and working conditions. These
victories were all won with very few strikes.
George Hardy was one of the most important
leaders of SEIU and Local 87 has a heritage as one of the most
important locals of SEIU. Local 87 has always had a strong independent
role within SEIU.
Today, SEIU Local 87 continues to honor our heritage as a union
of janitors with an immigrant justice campaign that focuses on
political mobilization, legislative action and member education.
It's time to fix our broken immigration system. Immigrants work
hard, pay taxes, sacrifice for their families, want to learn
English, and believe in the American Dream.
SEIU members keep our buildings and
communities safe and clean and our families healthy, we care
for our children and our elderly, and keep our cities and states
We stand up for justice and for civil
rights for all--for immigrants, for women, for LGBT workers,
for people of color, for all workers--because we know that's
the only way we can move our country forward.
These are all proud parts of our history.
And today we are still uniting for the same things that brought
those flat janitors together nine decades ago--a good job that
supports a family and includes healthcare, a secure retirement
after a career of hard work, safe and livable communities, and
a better future for our children.