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“March to End Poverty Wages” a Huge Success

NEW: Photos from delegations before the march (see below)

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Retail janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning Target and other stores recently called on Target CEO, Gregg Steinhafel to take the Minimum Wage Challenge, so that he could see first-hand what it is like to live at or near on minimum wages for a week. Hearing no response, and seeing that Target seems unwilling to support an increase in the minimum wage, over 100 workers and community allies marched through the downtown Minneapolis skyways today to call on the company to take a leadership role in increasing the minimum wage.

Click here for more pictures of the march.

Click here for a press release from the march.

Before the skyway march, workers and allies went on delegations to stores throughout the metro area to speak with the managers of the stores:

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Press Coverage:

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MARCH TO END POVERTY WAGES

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Wednesday, Feb. 26, 11:00am – 1:00pm

Hennepin County Government Center (300 S. 6th St., Mpls)

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It is time for leaders in our state like Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel to understand the challenges that poverty wages bring to Minnesota families and why we are fighting so hard to end them. That is why we asked Mr. Steinhafel to take the Working AmericaMinimum Wage Challenge earlier this week. He has not responded.

Join us next Wednesday for the March to End Poverty Wages where we will call on corporations like Target and leaders like Mr. Steinhafel to stand with the majority of Minnesotans who want to #RaisetheWage and begin to #EndPovertyWages in our state! 11am Rally at the Hennepin County Government Center followed by the 11:30am – 1:00pm March to End Poverty Wages.

Week of Action, Feb. 25-March 1, 2014

The March to End Poverty Wages is part of a Week of Action to End Poverty Wages, including:

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Second Annual CTUL Pancake Brunch and Silent Auction – Feb. 15, 10am – 1pm
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The Pancake Brunch & Silent Auction were a huge success. Thank you for all the support from our amazing ally network, and stay tuned for photos and a report from the event!

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New Lawsuit Alleges Wage Theft by Company that Cleaned Target and Other Stores in the Twin Cities

New disturbing information has come to light regarding the reality faced by retail janitors who work cleaning Target and other stores in the Twin Cities metro area. Three former supervisors of Eurest Services who supervised the cleaning of Target and other stores in the Twin Cities metro area served a lawsuit on their company, alleging violations of federal and state labor law, including reports of up to 35 hours a week of unpaid wages, having to buy cleaning supplies out of their own pockets, and other allegations of illegal underpayment of wages. The allegations come as a similar lawsuit was recently settled in St. Louis, Missouri by a former supervisor of Eurest Services, alleging $75,000 in unpaid wages and damages.

This is the second recent lawsuit involving retail janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning Target stores in the Twin Cities metro area. Diversified Maintenance Systems (DMS), the largest cleaning contractor for Target and Best Buy, paid $675,000 last year to settle a class action lawsuit involving employees who cleaned Target and other stores throughout the Midwest, alleging that employees regularly worked 56-60 hours per week without receiving full overtime pay.

In addition to these two cases, there have been at least four other federal lawsuits against companies that clean Target stores around the country. In one case, the owners of a cleaning company in Philadelphia were convicted of human trafficking in 2011 involving workers who cleaned Target and other stores in the Northeast.

This news comes to light at the same time as OSHA has cited Eurest Services with three violations of health and safety standards, exposing 197 janitors to serious violations of the law. According to OSHA, a “serious violation shall be deemed to exist in a place of employment if there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a condition which exists.”

How much longer will the decision-makers in the retail janitorial industry turn a blind eye to the ongoing exploitation?

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February 2014:

A Month of Action to End Poverty Wages

February promises to be a busy month, with many ways to stand with retail janitors and other low-wage workers across the state in the fight for fair wages. Break out your calendars to reserve the following dates:

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  • Pancake Brunch Fundraiser: Saturday, Feb. 15, 10am – 1pm, 2511 E. Franklin Ave., inside of Bethany Lutheran Church. Join us for good food, great company, photos & footage of the actions over the past year, a silent auction, and much more! (CTUL does not accept donations from any employer, employer representative, employer agent, manager, or supervisor in the cleaning, janitorial, window cleaning, or security services industries).
  • Fair Wage Wednesdays: Join us every Wednesday at 11am to call out the corporate players that are preventing wage increases in Minnesota, including Target and other companies. Meet at 9th and Nicollet. For more information, contact brian@ctul.net
  • Raise the Wage Rally: Feb. 25, 4pm at the Capitol. Join low-wage workers and community allies from across the state of Minnesota to demand an increase in the minimum wage.
  • Week of Action: The week following the Raise the Wage Rally, low-wage workers from across the state of Minnesota including retail janitors, airport workers, Walmart workers and more, will lead actions at various locations demanding fair wages. Stay tuned for more details!

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Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges Stands with Low-Wage Workers

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On Wednesday, January 8, the new mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, as well as the new Minneapolis City Council Representative for Ward 9 Alondra Cano came to the house of CTUL member Jose Cabrera to stand with low-wage workers in the call to end poverty wages in Minnesota. CTUL members who work for sub-contracted companies cleaning Target and other stores were joined by Wal-Mart workers and airport workers. Check out some of the press coverage below, including a great video on ABC Eyewitness News, and click here for more pictures of the event.

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RETAIL JANITORS STRIKE BLACK FRIDAY!

NEW: Video from Labor Education Services:

What a day! Hundreds of workers and community allies made it through the freezing cold for four and a half hours on a picket line with striking retail janitors this morning. Click here for pictures from the picket.

March to End Poverty Wages in MN

NEW: Video from MN2020

Right after the picket, striking janitors joined low-wage workers (Walmart workers, meatpacking workers, airport workers and more) from across the state in the March to End Poverty Wages in Minnesota. At the end of the march, over two dozen marchers participated in an act of non-violent civil disobedience, calling attention to the need for living wages. Leroy, who works for Diversified Maintenance Systems cleaning a Target store, was one of the participants in CT (red shirt on the left). Click here for pictures.

Press Coverage:

Click here for more coverage from the day.

Background:

Retail janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning Target and other stores in the Twin Cities are organizing for fair wages and fair working conditions. Over the past ten years, workers have seen their wages drop significantly, while workload has nearly doubled. Through three years of organizing, workers have won important changes, including the first raises after a decade of declining wages. Yet workers are still paid poverty wages, and many workers have reported ongoing harassment for their organizing efforts. On Black Friday, retail janitors across the Twin Cities metro area walked out on strike, demanding the right to organize without fear of retaliation.

For more information, click the links on the Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning, and check out this powerful editorial from U.S. Representative Keith Ellison in the Huffington Post explaining why he stands with retail janitors in the call for justice: ”Workers in Minnesota Fight to Survive,” 10/11/13

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In case you missed the previous two strikes, check out the pictures and reports here:

July 2013 Strike Report

February 2013 Strike Report