Property Services FAQ

What Is Property Services?

Property Services workers are janitors, security officers, maintenance and custodial workers, stadium and arena workers, window cleaners, and other workers who provide important services.

Approximately 250,000 SEIU property services workers nationwide clean, maintain, and provide security for commercial office buildings, co-ops, and apartment buildings, as well as public facilities like theaters, stadiums, and airports.

SEIU was originally formed by janitors and chartered in 1921 as the "Building Service Employees International Union" (BSEIU). BSEIU's charter members were mostly immigrants in Chicago working as flat and loft janitors -- toiling 12-hour days for $10 a week and the privilege of living with their families in dark basement apartments. Chicago-based Local 1, the first local, is still thriving today.

What Is Justice for Janitors?

For over two decades, SEIU's Justice for Janitors movement has helped low-wage workers achieve social and economic justice and earn broad-based support from the public as well as religious, political and community leaders. More than 225,000 janitors in more than 30 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada have united in SEIU, America's largest union of property services workers.

The Justice for Janitors campaign was formed in Denver in 1985. The campaign is about hard-working janitors uniting for fair working conditions with support from their communities.

Justice for Janitors Day was established after janitors in Los Angeles were beaten by police during a peaceful demonstration against the cleaning contractor ISS on June 15, 1990. The public outrage that generated from this incident resulted in ISS agreeing to recognize L.A. janitors in a union. In remembrance of that day, SEIU janitors and supporters take action every June 15 in cities nationwide and in countries around the world.

Over the years, Justice for Janitors has worked to provide better wages, basic benefits, and job security for janitors who clean buildings in major cities and suburbs. Learn more about Justice for Janitors.

What Is Stand for Security?

Stand for Security is a national, community-based campaign to build stronger communities by helping hundreds of thousands of African-American security officers win a better future.

Private security officers and SEIU have launched the largest organizing effort of a predominantly African-American workforce in the history of the labor movement. By organizing the Pullman Porters union in 1937, A. Philip Randolph helped create the black middle class. Security officers nationwide are building on that legacy by uniting in SEIU.

We are just getting started. There are more than a million private security officers already working in one of the nation's fastest growing industries. Imagine the potential for our communities if we can turn private security into a steady, good-paying job with health care.

Learn more about Stand for Security

Why Do We Need a Property Services Union?

With SEIU, janitors and security workers have won major wage gains, full employer-paid family health insurance, full-time work opportunities, training programs, and protections from unlawful employers.

In the midst of the rapid consolidation, globalization, and expansion of the property services industry, workers are joining together to ensure these growing industries provide good jobs with health care and a future.

We join SEIU to:

  •  Win improvements and respect in our profession.
  • Secure living wages, affordable family health insurance, and other benefits.
  • Speak out on behalf of those who use janitorial and security services.
  • Have a voice in decisions that affect us wherever we work.

Who Can Get Involved and How Can I Join?

Join with SEIU to:

  •  Win improvements and respect in our profession.
  • Secure living wages, family health insurance and other benefits.
  • Speak out on behalf of those who use janitorial and security services.
  • Have a voice in decisions wherever we work.
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