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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

SEIU Janitors at ArcelorMittal are Latest to Ratify New Union Contract With Path to $15 Wage

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 5:38 PM

Members of SEIU Local 1 on their "Tale of Two Clevelands" trolley tour. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Members of SEIU Local 1 on their "Tale of Two Clevelands" trolley tour.
On the heels of new union contracts for janitors at the Cleveland Orchestra and Tri-C, janitors at the ArcelorMittal steel plant ratified an agreement of their own Tuesday afternoon. It will put them on a path to $15 per hour.

The 50 ArcelorMittal janitors with Service Employees International Union Local 1 (SEIU) voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new five-year contract. Janitors will see a 60 percent wage increase, and all will be making at least $15 per hour by 2023. The agreement also includes improved benefits, including holidays and stronger healthcare and pension funds.

In a press release announcing the new agreement, SEIU noted that "next up" will be negotiating a master contract that governs many of downtown Cleveland's most well-known commercial properties. Roughly 500 SEIU janitors clean those buildings, and the union is hoping the momentum gained from the Orchestra, Tri-C and ArcelorMittal contracts will encourage negotiators for the downtown properties to do right by their janitors.

“While we won our path to $15," said ArcelorMittal janitor Rodney Shelton in the release, "the fight for One Cleveland continues with hundreds of our brothers and sisters who are fighting for their contract downtown.”

On a recent trolley tour, part of SEIU's larger "One Cleveland" campaign, local janitors talked about the challenges of their daily lives as they make meager wages and work late-night shifts. A recurring message from the union is that money from increased wages tends to flow directly back into the communities where the janitors live. It's money for essential home repairs, overdue bills, transportation, groceries.

"We're not asking for a lot," said Yanela Sims, Local 1's director for the state of Ohio, on the trolley tour. "We're asking for survival."

SEIU calculated that the new five-year ArcelorMittal contract will pump $1.5 million back into Cleveland neighborhoods.  

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Let's Watch the 1982 Implosion of Buildings on Public Square That Left Everyone Covered in Dust and Soot

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 1:49 PM

  • YouTube screenshot

If you think the infamous video of Cleveland's ill-fated attempt at releasing 1.5 million balloons is the best vintage gem on YouTube showing our proud citizens trying to enjoy something only to spectacularly screw it up, that means you haven't enjoyed this 1982 clip, captured by WEWS, of the implosion of the Cuyahoga and Williamson buildings on Public Square.

Urban building demolition videos? Always fun. This one? A bit different, because as the buildings come down and the clouds of dust begin to spread over Public Square people suddenly realize that authorities had not cordoned off the public far enough from the building. One moment there are cheers and claps as the two structures come roaring to the ground as the man who pushed the detonation button turns around to be admired and celebrated by the crowd. The very next moment the plume descends and everyone starts running. It's absolutely nutty, and scary, and the man-on-the-street videos in the aftermath are predictably jarring, both for the visuals and the carefree, even joyous, emotions expressed by folks who are absolutely covered in dust that could not have been great for their lungs.

One person left unscathed? The guy in charge of the demolition, who, looking fresh and dapper and clean in his interview, told a reporter he was A-okay because he knew to stand at a safe distance. This is information that apparently was not shared with anyone else.

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Punch Bowl Social to Open Its Rooftop for Cinco de Mayo Party

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 1:33 PM

  • Amber Boutwell, Punch Bowl Social
To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Punch Bowl Social will throw its first rooftop patio party of the season from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 5.

The event will feature a special $5 El Macho tequila-based cocktail (made with muddled cucumber, house-made cardamom syrup and fresh lime juice). You can try dishes like a “sheet load” of nachos, a plate of cocoa dusted carnitas tacos served with frijoles churros, and green chorizo fries

There will multiple games and activities inside and outside of the restaurant.

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Parts of Cleveland Now Smell Like Semen, Which Means the Bradford Pear Trees Have Bloomed

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 11:42 AM

  • Avia Venefica, FlickrCC

If you've strolled between Huron and Prospect near East Fourth in the past week and gotten confused because your eyes confirm that you're in fact in downtown Cleveland but your nose seems to hint that you're on a Brazzers studio set, you're not alone.

That semen-y smell is coming from aggressively floral Bradford pear trees, which have bloomed and indicated that spring is coming all over Cleveland.

Their popularity has waned since first being introduced in America from their native China some 70 years ago before everyone realized that not only is the funk of jizz not something anyone wanted around but that the species turned out to be quite virile. It's now considered an invasive species and does little more than emit foul smells.

As our good pals at Scene's sister paper in St. Louis noted in 2017 upon the premature arrival of spring, if everyone remains dead set on ecological calamity and screwing over humanity, we might as well smell like it.

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Mahall's To Host a Benefit Show on Saturday for the Upcoming Mass Hysteria Comedy Fest

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 11:17 AM

Created by Cleveland show-runners and improvisers Deena Nyer Mendlowitz and Sam Dee, the Mass Hysteria Comedy Fest aims to highlight improv troupes run by women. A huge success, the first Mass Hysteria Fest debuted at Forest City Brewery last year.

This year’s festival will be held at Mahall’s from Sept. 19 to Sept. 21.

Chicago-based Here the (Improvised) Musical headlined last year's festival, and they’ll return to town on Saturday to perform at Mahall’s as part of a fundraiser for the upcoming festival. During their performances, they take one suggestion from an audience member and create a theme for a "musical" that "effortlessly weaves the strings together into one piece." The group’s members, Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto, have performed together for more than a decade.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $10.

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Patton Oswalt Coming to Playhouse Square in July

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 10:11 AM

  • Courtesy of Playhouse Square
Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt’s lengthy resume includes a long list of TV and film credits. He currently stars in four TV series this year and has roles in The Goldbergs, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Happy! and A.P. Bio.

Over the course of his lengthy career, the diminutive Oswalt has appeared in many films, including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Informant!, Observe and Report, Zoolander, Starsky and Hutch and Reno 911!: Miami. He’s also found steady work as a voice actor.

He’s also somehow found time to hit the road for a stand-up tour.

He performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, at the State Theatre. Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. on Friday.

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Moxie in Beachwood to Close, Rebrand, and Reopen in June

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 10:08 AM


To survive 22 years in the restaurant game takes more than a little moxie; it takes flexibility. Over the years, Moxie restaurant in Beachwood has endured more nips, tucks and tweaks than a C-List celebrity. Up next for the pioneering Cleveland bistro is the deepest cut of all.

The restaurant, which Esquire magazine included in its annual list of best new restaurants in 1998, will close its doors on Saturday, April 27. When it reopens a few weeks later in June, it will do so with a new name, design, menu and concept, according to company reps.

This is far from the first time Moxie has announced changes – sweeping or otherwise. Over the years, guests have watched as the menu expanded and contracted to correspond with current dining trends. Conventional arrangements of appetizers, salads, main courses and desserts gave way to those touting small, medium and large plate formats. Those, in turn, were swept away in favor of a menu flush with salads, sandwiches, half portions and smaller (read less expensive) entrees.

Cleveland diners, wherever they elect to eat, can thank Moxie owner Brad Friedlander for seeding the local market with household names like Doug Katz, Karen Small, Tim Bando, Eric Williams, Jonathan Bennett and John Kolar, all of whom have worked their way through the proving ground of Moxie.

As we near the reopening (or is it opening?) of the restaurant, we’ll learn more about the concept and menu. In the meantime, Red, the Steakhouse (3355 Richmond Rd., 216-831-5599) in Beachwood will now be open daily for lunch.

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