Black Friday Week of Action
“Fighting to Live, Not Just Survive!”
Donate to the Retail Janitor Strike Fund
The Minnesota Department of Health recently published a report on poverty and health in the state, highlighting the fact that Minnesotans who live in areas with the highest median household income live an average of 8 years longer than those who live in areas with the lowest median household incomes. According to the report: “The growing economic inequities and the persistence of health disparities in our great state are a matter of life and death for many.”
This holiday season, low-wage workers from across the state of Minnesota are fighting to take back the years that companies are stealing off working families’ lives. Stand with retail janitors and fast food workers with CTUL, Walmart workers with OUR Walmart, airport workers with 15 Now, home health care workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, the fight for paid sick days with Take Action Minnesota, and other low-wage workers from across the state of Minnesota who are joining together through Minnesotans for a Fair Economy (MFE) for a Black Friday Week of Action, November 28 – December 5, 2014:
Friday, November 28, 6am. “Strike for Our Lives“: Retail janitors with CTUL have set a Black Friday strike deadline. Picket 6-9am, The Quarry, 1520 New Brighton Blvd., Mpls
Thursday, December 4, 6am and noon. Fast Food Action. Join fast food workers with CTUL and home health care workers with SEIU HCMN in the Fight for $15. Meet outside of Walker Library in Uptown (2880 Hennepin Ave, Mpls) at 6am; 34th and Nicollet at noon.
Other MFE Actions
Friday, November 28, 10am. “March of Shame”. Take Action Minnesota together with striking Walmart workers from OUR Walmart are leading a mass march demanding paid sick days. Meet at University Ave. & N. Griggs St., St. Paul.
Saturday, November 29, 7pm. “Food Chains”, a new film about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). At the end of the film there will be a panel discussion including a worker from the CIW and CTUL.
Friday, December 5, noon, Airport workers. 15 Now Rally for $15/hour and a Union. Terminal 1, Upper Level Roadway, across from ticketing
Retail Janitors Set Black Friday Strike Deadline
Over 100 workers and community allies braved the cold to join the announcement of a strike deadline with retail janitors outside of the Home Depot in Richfield. Last June, after a series of meetings with CTUL and workers, Target Corporation created a Responsible Contractor Policy that ensures that companies contracted to clean Target stores will open dialogue with workers to improve working standards in the industry. Since the announcement, the two companies that clean Target stores and a third company that cleans other stores in the Twin Cities have all opened dialogue, yet they have not seemed to take workers’ concerns seriously. Other cleaning companies have refused to talk at all.
We are fighting to live, not just survive!
“We will no longer sit back quietly as cleaning companies steal years off of our lives and the lives of our families by paying poverty wages. On Black Friday, we will ‘Strike for Our Lives’ against all of the cleaning companies that refuse to respect our right to organize without fear of retaliation,” – Maricela Flores, retail janitor and CTUL member.
- “Twin Cities retail janitors threaten to strike on Black Friday,” Star Tribune, Adam Belz, November 11, 2014.
- “Twin Cities retail janitors announce Black Friday strike deadline,” Workday Minnesota, Howard Kling, November 11, 2014.
- “Janitors Threaten Strike Against Big Box Retailers On Black Friday,” The UpTake, Bill Sorem, November 11, 2014.
For the past four years, retail janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning stores in the Twin Cities have been organizing for fair wages, fair working conditions, and a voice in the workplace, including leading multiple marches, a 12-day hunger strike, and three strikes in 2013. This past summer, after a year of dialogue between workers, CTUL and Target executives, Target Corporation created a new Responsible Contractor Policy that will significantly improve working conditions in the contracted cleaning of Target stores in the Twin Cities. Since this historic step, we have seen positive movement at some cleaning companies. At the same time, workers report ongoing problems of poverty wages, wage theft and unsafe working conditions at other cleaning companies. Click here for more pictures of the action.
CTUL is a low-wage worker-led organization that is fighting for fair wages, fair working conditions, and a voice in the workplace for all workers in the Twin Cities metro area. Currently CTUL is leading three campaigns:
- Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning: Over the past 10-15 years, wages and working conditions in retail cleaning have spiraled out of control, with constantly lowering wages and increasing workloads. After four years of organizing, including three strikes against cleaning companies in 2013, workers have won significant changes in the industry. Most recently, after a year of dialogue between Target Corporation, CTUL and retail janitors, Target is taking a leadership role in the industry by adopting new language in an unprecedented Responsible Contractor Policy. Click here for more information on the campaign.
- Fast Food Campaign: Fast food workers in the Twin Cities are organizing with CTUL as part of the national Fight for $15 and the right to a union. Click here for more information on the campaign, including a report on workers’ first strike in the Twin Cities on September 4, 2014.
- Defensores de Derechos / Workplace Rights Defenders: Low-wage workers participate in a series of four in-depth workshops on workplace rights and how to document violations of workplace rights. After participating in four workshops workers form the Defensores Committee, which will facilitate workshops with other workers and will gather information to publish a report in September 2015 on low-wage work in the Twin Cities. Come back soon for more information on Defensores.
What an incredible day! Fast food workers across the country are rising, demanding fair wages and working conditions. Click here for a full report on the fast food strike here in the Twin Cities organized by CTUL, including photos, press coverage, videos and more…
After four years of organizing including leading three strikes against cleaning companies in 2013, and a year of dialogue between Target Corporation, CTUL and retail janitors, Target is taking a leadership role in the industry by adopting new language in an unprecedented Responsible Contractor Policy that will be implemented for new cleaning contracts at their stores. The policy is the first of its kind nationally in the industry. CTUL is now calling on every other major retail stores to follow Target’s leadership by adopting the same Responsible Contractor Policy, including:
- Protecting and ensuring workers’ rights to collectively bargain with their employers;
- Ensuring that workers have the right to form safety committees in the workplace made up of at least 50% workers who are designated by their co-workers; and
- Ensuring that workers are not forced to work seven days a week.
This victory paves the way for workers to gain fair wages, benefits, and a voice in the workplace, and has implications that move well beyond the estimated 1,000 retail janitors in the Twin Cities, opening the door to ensure that low-wage workers of color have a place at the table in deciding the future of work. Fundamentally this is part of CTUL’s vision of empowering low-wage workers to play a leadership role in reorganizing the economy to ensure that it works for everyone, not just the 1%.
- CTUL’s analysis of the victory
- Statements of support for workers with this victory from U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, National Guestworker Alliance, Janice Fine, and many more.
- CTUL Video about the victory
- Photos and Report from Victory Press Conference
- “Target Adopts ‘Breakthrough’ Policy for Janitors,” Kare 11 News, Lindsey Seavert, June 10, 2014
“The janitors who clean Twin Cities Target stores announced victory today, after the retailer agreed to a new policy that will give the workers better conditions, including the right to collectively bargain, and ensure workers are not forced to work seven days a week.”
- “Target Bends to Labor, Tells Contractors to Meet with Unions,” Bloomberg Businessweek, Josh Eidelson, June 12, 2014
“…a strong core of leaders in the industry, who have gone on three strikes…that’s the mechanism of enforcement.”
- “Janitors at Target stores to see new protections in contracts,” MPR, Tom Weber, June 10, 2014
And in case you missed the reports of previous actions…
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.