CTUL leaders are heading to York, PA to the Bon-Ton Shareholders Meeting once again this year to educate shareholders on the poor working conditions they face cleaning Herberger’s stores in the Twin Cities and to call on Herberger’s to adopt a responsible contractor policy.
Last year, Leticia Zuniga, a leader with CTUL and retail janitor attended the meeting and spoke with Bon-Ton executives.
“We went to York, Pennsylvania to the annual shareholder’s meeting of Bon-Ton Corporation, which runs Herberger’s brand stores in Minnesota. We spoke to the CEO and a vice president and talked to them about the problems we’ve had with Capital, the cleaning contractor that cleans Herberger’s stores, and the company that I work for. They committed to establish a responsible contractor policy, and we are now working with the company the move that forward. I feel happy because this will make the difference in many workers’ lives — not just mine. This opens a path to better wages and respect on the job. That’s the reason why we do all that we do,” Leticia Zuniga, retail janitor and CTUL member.
One year later, they still have not implemented a Responsible Contractor Policy.
Herberger’s is using the “Trump business model” by contracting with a janitorial company that has been sued for violating workers’ rights, has occasionally stolen employees’ wages and has taken advantage of immigrant workers. Herberger’s has not taken the steps to ensure that the companies with which it contracts protect the rights and wages of workers. Janitors have been organizing and going on strike against Herberger’s janitorial subcontractor, Capital Building Services Group, demanding better treatment.
Two years ago they took Capital to court in a class action lawsuit over wage theft, where the janitors who were making as little as $4 or $5 an hour cleaning many Herberger’s stores. The court ordered Capital to return the wages it had stolen. In total, Capital had to pay back $425,000 in a settlement for stolen wages.
These working conditions impact people like Leticia and her family and we are saying enough is enough.
My name is Elizabeth Mejia Campillo and I work for Kimco Services as a retail janitor cleaning a Home Depot and a Kohl’s in the Twin Cities. At Kimco, we have repeatedly asked for raises and have not received them. We don’t have access to any benefits such as paid sick days or vacation time. Many of my co-workers are losing hours as Kimco continues to make us do the same work in less and less time. As the head of my household, I need to work two jobs in order to pay our mortgage, bills, and other expenses. I support my daughter while she studies in college and my 70 year old mother who still works part time only to pay her medical expenses.
I have been organizing with my co-workers to change this reality. If Kimco was a responsible contractor who paid fair wages and benefits, I’d be less stressed financially. I would be able to pay my mortgage every month without worrying about getting kicked out if my hours get cut. I would be able to spend more quality time with my mother and daughter if I worked one job and had time off. Kimco doesn’t understand my reality or listen to us. When my coworkers and I went on strike, they gave me a warning for missing work, which would be violating my rights. Since then they have erased the warning, but only because we spoke up and demanded that they respect our rights as workers.
This is why I’ve decided to attend the Home Depot Shareholder’s Meeting on May, 18th. My co-workers and I hope to educate Home Depot and their shareholders about the problems we are facing as janitors who keep their stores clean.
We also hope to address the public support that the Home Depot founders have given to Donald Trump. Trump’s agenda has been very anti-immigrant and anti-woman, which I feel is a direct attack on my family. My household includes three generations of women who have faced violence. I myself have suffered an assault. My brother was kidnapped and murdered in Mexico and to escape more violence my mother and daughter decided to leave their home and come live with me. We don’t deserve degrading comments or blame, we demand respect.
As a woman and immigrant who works hard to ensure the Home Depot store that I clean is always presentable for customers, I feel that President Trump’s policies and words are an attack on my family and no Home Depot investor should be supportive of those attacks. Myself, my mother, and my daughter have lived through hardship and loss but are strong together, continuing to fight and standing up for what we know we deserve. I go to the Home Depot shareholder’s meeting to represent my co-workers at Kimco, immigrants, women, and all of us who demand better from our employers and our country.
9:30-10:30am Picket with Striking Retail Janitors outside of Home Depot
Video by Labor Education Services
Hundreds of striking workers and community allies came out for the first action of the day outside of the Home Depot in Northeast Minneapolis. Subcontracted retail janitors who clean stores like Home Depot and Herberger’s are on strike to protest degrading working conditions and poverty wages and to demand $15 and the right to form a union without fear of retaliation. They stand together with millions of workers all across the country who are out in the streets to demand respect and dignity in their workplaces and to protest the anti-worker and anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration.
At the picket, retail janitors announced that they will be going to Atlanta to attend Home Depot’s Shareholder meeting on May 18 to educate shareholders on the poor working conditions in the cleaning of their stores.
Over 1,000 people marched in the International Workers’ Day March, including striking fast food workers, retail janitors and construction workers from CTUL. The march started in East Phillips Park, marched past Franklin Street Bakery where workers are organizing for fair wages and the fight to form a union without fear of retaliation, and past Wendy’s where workers are part of the Fight for $15.
We ended in Downtown Minneapolis, meeting the Minneapolis and St. Paul Teachers Unions, and ending with a call on City Hall for a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis for all workers.
International Workers Day / Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes 5.1.17
May 1st is International Workers’ Day, commemorating the Haymarket affair and immigrant workers’ fight for an eight-hour workday in the 1880s. This year immigrant workers across the country are calling for a General Strike on May 1st, including no work, no school, and no shopping. In the Twin Cities, workers will be striking to fight against the racist and anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration, and to demand respect on the job, $15 an hour, and the right to organize without fear of retaliation.
Stand with workers on May 1, 2017:
9:30-10:30am, Retail Janitors Strike, Outside of the Home Depot in The Quarry, 1520 New Brighton Blvd, Minneapolis
This action will launch International Workers Day and A Day Without an Immigrant in the Twin Cities. Retail janitors organizing with CTUL will be going on strike to demand an end to wage theft in their industry and are fighting for $15 and a voice on the job. Other retail janitorial companies have improved wages and other work standards including the right to form a union without fear of retaliation, but Kimco (which cleans Home Depot and other stores in the metro area), Capital, and Diversified refuse to meet those basic standards.
The march will start at 4pm, including stops at Franklin Street Bakery where workers are organizing for better wages and the right to form a union, Wendy’s on Franklin Ave as part of the Fight for $15 and union rights with fast food workers, U.S. Bank with the Minneapolis and St. Paul Teachers Unions, and end in Downtown Minneapolis to send a message to City Council that all workers in Minneapolis need a $15 minimum wage.
Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers nationwide participated in a powerful Day Without Immigrants action, responding to the attacks on immigrant communities by the Trump administration. As part of this action, hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike demanding workplaces and communities free of discrimination based on national origin and religious beliefs. Federal labor law under the National Labor Relations Act protects workers’ rights to participate in such a strike. CTUL is committed to defending the rights of all workers as they fight for better workplaces and communities, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and not met with discrimination of any kind.
Most employers have respected and supported the rights of workers as they participated in yesterday’s strike and were welcomed back to work today. We have received a handful of complaints from workers who have been threatened with retaliation by the employers for participating in the actions. So far, once we have reached out to these employers together with the workers, the majority have respected workers’ rights and have welcomed the workers back to work. However, there are a couple of employers who are currently choosing not to respect the rights of workers. We are working closely with these workers and employers to try and resolve the threats of retaliation.
We will continue to monitor cases that we are made aware of to support workers in defending their rights. We are very thankful for all community members, allies, businesses, and elected officials who are standing in solidarity with the immigrant community by signing a community letter of support.
Most importantly, the continued courage and resilience of the immigrant community is proof that we will not only survive, but continue to stand together and build the resistance needed to make our world a better place. We are proud and honored to stand with all immigrants in the struggle for peace and justice for us all.
Puzder Resigns, Minnesota State Legislature Introduces Wage Theft Proposal
When we fight, we win!
Feb. 15, 2017. In the face of overwhelming odds, low-wage worker leaders with CTUL are standing up and winning real change.
On Monday CTUL fast food worker members protested outside of Hardees in St. Paul as part of a nationwide fast food worker-led action to say No to Andrew Puzder (CEO of Hardees) for U.S. Department of Labor Secretary. This morning Puzder’s nomination was withdrawn.
One year ago, when asked about wage theft Governor Dayton stated: “It’s the first I’ve heard of that concern…I’d want to talk to Commissioner Ken Peterson (Department of Labor and Industry) to see what his take on it is.” This afternoon, after a series of meetings with CTUL members to learn about the issue over the past few weeks, Lt. Governor Tina Smith stood with State Representatives to introduce a bill aimed at cracking down on wage theft.
This is just the beginning. On March 12, 2017 CTUL will launch our Raise Worker Voice Campaign, with the goal of taking our organizing efforts to scale and winning a voice with tens of thousands of workers across Minnesota.
Alright y’all – we know that times are tough right now, but every grassroots organization knows that with every challenge comes opportunities; and the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity. Join a team of worker leaders and organizers at CTUL as we grow the movement to not just resist oppression, but to build and win alternatives:
Donor Organizer: CTUL is seeking applications for a full-time position as a Donor Organizer. This position will lead the work of organizing individual donors, and will work with a team on the Raise Workers’ Voices Campaign to raise approximately $1.5 million in two years to take CTUL’s work to the next level. Click here for more information.
Lead Organizer in the Fight for $15: CTUL seeks to hire for a Lead Organizer in the Fight for $15 national campaign organizing fast food workers in coordination with organizations in many cities that have participated in a series of coordinated strikes and other workplace actions to win $15/hour and a Union as well as a voice on the job. This position will require a lot of initiative and the ability to work very independently to build power with fast food workers locally at CTUL while working with nationally coordinated actions to transform the fast food industry. Click here for more information.