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3,300 janitors rally in Chicago; another planned for Schaumburg
Daily Herald Staff Report
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Published: 3/2/2009 12:08 AM

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More than 3,300 janitors marched and rallied in downtown Chicago Sunday to kick off their contract negotiations with local cleaning contractors, building owners and office managers.

The rally's other purpose was to urge banks to use federal bailout money for job creation, not for padding executive salaries.

The upcoming contract talks will involve janitors who work in office buildings in Chicago, Schaumburg, Deerfield, Oak Brook and other suburbs. Of the 15,000 in the union, 3,000 are from the suburbs.

The day began with a rally at the Chicago Theater. From there, the group marched to Federal Plaza. Marchers included Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Danny Davis and three Chicago aldermen.

No arrests or incidents were reported during either event, said Erica Hade, communications director for SEIU Local 1, which represents the janitors.

"It was a peaceful march," Hade said.

Another rally is planned for March 5 at the Fifth Third Bank in Schaumburg.