February 16, 2016
CONTACT: Merle Payne, CTUL, 612-859-5750, email@example.com
JANITORS AT MACY’S WIN OVER $400,000 IN CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT, HIGHLIGHT BROKEN SYSTEM DAYS BEFORE JANITORS’ STRIKE
Retail Janitors Move Forward with Plans to Strike on Thursday, February 18 to Change the Industry
Minneapolis, Minn — Janitors who are sub-contracted to clean Macy’s and Herberger’s stores announce a settlement agreement for $425,000 in back wages and damages as part of a class action lawsuit against Capital Building Services Group (CBSG; case 15-CV-02498). The settlement includes injunctive relief, ensuring that all employees will get paystubs and will have the option to get paid by check. The victory comes just days before non-union janitors with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) are set to go on strike 2/18 if their calls for fair pay and an end to wage theft are not met.
“By uniting together my co-workers and I have won a big victory,” said Jesus Sanchez, CTUL member and CBSG employees. “But we shouldn’t be forced to sue our employer to be paid for hours that we already worked. Wage theft is an all too common problem for retail janitors. We don’t need a band-aid. We need a cure. And that cure is a voice on the job, union rights, and $15 an hour. My co-workers and I are prepared to strike on February 18th if Capital refuses to enter into sincere dialogue about these issues.”
Wage theft continues to be a major problem for retail janitors who clean profitable and well-known retail chains in the Twin Cities like Macy’s, Lunds & Byerly’s, Sears, Kohl’s and others. In 2015 three former supervisors at Kimco Services who oversaw the cleaning of Kohl’s, Home Depot and other stores in the Twin Cities won a major lawsuit, in which the workers complained of having to work up to 35 hours a week off the clock (Case 14-CV-00366). In 2013 janitors at Diversified Maintenance Systems won a settlement in a class action for $675,000 in the contracted cleaning of Sears, Best Buy and other stores in the Twin Cities (11-CV-03106). In 2008, the United States Department of Labor Minneapolis District Office found that National Floor Maintenance had not paid the required overtime to over 100 workers cleaning Lunds & Byerly’s stores in the Twin Cities.
Workers have announced a February 17th deadline for a strike, calling on their employers to open sincere dialogue about fair wages, an end to wage theft, and a voice. CBSG employees who participated in the class action lawsuit together with employees of the three cleaning companies cited above are prepared to lead a 24 hour strike the evening of the 17th. Workers and community allies will gather on February 18th, 6-7am outside of the Macy’s in Downtown Minneapolis at 700 Nicollet Ave.
“I am ready to go on strike because my co-workers and I work in inadequate conditions with miserable wages that we can barely survive on. I am fighting for $15 and a voice on the job so that I can achieve the dreams and plans that I have for my family,” Delia Saldivar, CTUL member and employee of National Floor Maintenance who cleans a Lunds store.
Workers from the class action lawsuit, and workers who are preparing to strike on February 17th can be reached for interviews by contacting Merle Payne with CTUL at the above number. The workers’ lawyer can be reached through Nichols Kaster, LLC: Adam Hansen, 4600 IDS Center, 80 South 8th St., Minneapolis, MN 55402, 612-256-3207, firstname.lastname@example.org
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. For more info: www.ctul.net