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GREEN DUCK CO CHICAGO Union Bug
In 1902, janitors, elevator operators, and window washers in apartment buildings organized the Chicago Flat Janitor's Union, the nation's first union of building employees and the forerunner of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Most members were immigrants, and the union's leadership and membership crossed racial and gender lines from its inception. Goals included higher wages and better working conditions and, because janitors often lived in dank basement apartments in buildings where they worked, better living conditions. In 1921, the Chicago Flat Janitor's Union became Local 1 of the new Building Service Employees' International Union, later the SEIU, an AFL union headquartered in Chicago until 1990.