Jesus Sanchez, CTUL member: “By uniting together my co-workers and I have won a big victory. 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.” (Jesus works for Capital Building Group Services cleaning a Macy’s and Herberger’s store)
In the morning, Lucila stood with workers who complain of unpaid wages in the sub-contracted cleaning of Walgreens and other stores. Later that evening she received top honors from the Saint Paul Foundation for her anti-racism work, organizing with low-wage workers of color for fair wages, fair working conditions, and a voice in the workplace.
“Low-wage workers of color who are members of CTUL, like myself, are stepping up. We refuse to follow the vicious cycle of changing from job to job, stuck in a system of economic, social and racial inequity. Instead, we are working to change the jobs where we are, proactively working to build healthy communities for everyone. Target Corporation has demonstrated interest in following the leadership of low-wage workers of color. We are calling on Best Buy and other Minnesotan corporations to step up as well so that together we can establish economic, social and racial equity for all Minnesotans.”
Over 500 striking workers and community allies took to the streets in Minneapolis this on November 10, 2015! The day started bright and early at 5:30am in a picket with striking fast food workers at the McDonald’s at University and Broadway in Northeast Minneapolis. Workers then marched to the Macy’s in Downtown Minneapolis for a picket against cleaning companies with striking retail janitors. Finally, striking workers joined hundreds of other low-wage workers in a rally inside of Minneapolis City Hall.
Following the picket line, striking janitors joined workers, faith leaders, and community leaders from around the state for an action at Best Buy Corporate HQ, calling on the company to stop blocking local and state policies that would help working families. Click here for a report of the action.
“I am going on strike because my employer, Capital Building Services Group, is cheating us,” Duniyo Hussein, who cleans the Macy’s at the Mall of America for CBSG, said. “$8.00 an hour is not fair for the work we do. We work hard. In the United States, no one should make such a low wage. I am going on strike so we can win fair wages and more rights at our job.”
“This is our moment — we are going to change service jobs from ones that drag our economy down into ones that lift up workers, families and communities,” said Carmela Palacios, Burger King employee and member of CTUL, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha/Center of Workers United in Struggle. “Fast-food workers are joining together and standing up for what’s right, and standing with so many people working in a variety of industries, we are stronger than ever. I know we will win.” “Fast food workers shut down Minneapolis intersection,” Barb Kucera, WorkDay Minnesota, April 15, 2015
Thousands of fast food workers in over 190 cities around the country walked out on strike on December 4th, demanding $15 and union rights. Here in the Twin Cities, over 400 workers and community allies braved the cold for two actions at 6am and noon. Click here for a full report.
CTUL member Guillermo Lindsay in CBS MoneyWatch: “I’d rather live than survive. What about you?” Click the link below for the entire article, and click here for local coverage.
Retail janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning large stores like Home Depot, Sears, Kohl’s and others walked out on strike today at over 50 stores in the Twin Cities, demanding fair wages and the right to organize. Hundreds of allies stood with workers in the freezing cold for three hours. Click here for more pictures from the picket line.
Recently, Target Corporation committed to play a leadership role by implementing the industry’s first Responsible Contractor Policy. Yet, the companies that clean Target stores are not only ignoring workers’ voices, they are also ignoring Target by not respecting the new Responsible Contractor Policy. Workers still report having to work seven days a week, ongoing sub-poverty wages that take a toll on workers’ health, and no clear path to ensure workers’ voices. Since these and other large cleaning companies continue to pay poverty wages and refuse to take workers seriously, workers at four cleaning companies walked out on strike: Prestige Maintenance USA, Carlson Building Maintenace, Kimco Services and Diversified Maintenance Systems.
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%.
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.
“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.”