After Day of Action, CTUL Calls On Kohl’s To Meet With The Workers Who Clean Their Stores And Apologize For The Violent Behavior Of Mall Security
Peaceful protesters assaulted while singing Christmas carols in Eden Prairie Mall.
Retail janitors and their community allies walked through the Eden Prairie Mall on Nov. 29 to call on Kohl’s to implement a Responsible Contractor Policy. Retail janitors and community allies showed up to the mall in the Christmas spirit wearing Santa hats, singing Christmas carols with lyrics that included their asks, and even “Santa Claus!” The holiday spirit quickly melted away when the mall security officer began to assault the peaceful carolers.
“We went to Kohl’s very peacefully and cheerfully to call on them to implement a Responsible Contractor Policy,” said Veronica Mendez – Moore, co-director of CTUL. “Shortly after entering the mall, the security officer began assaulting us, pushing people across the hallway, swinging around a drumstick taken from drummers amongst the carolers, and using the stick to hit carolers and jabbed it into my ribs. We were singing songs and walking through the mall and he began to get very aggressive. He was obviously not in the holiday spirit. Eventually the police came and escorted him to a back room and allowed us to finish our caroling as we exited, but not before the security officer pushed several members of our group and even punched someone.”
The carolers then gathered outside as “Santa” asked the retail janitors what their holiday wishes were. “A Responsible Contractor Policy would allow us the opportunity to organize for a union without retaliation,” said Luciano Balbuena, a CTUL member and retail janitor. “This would allow us the opportunity to make better wages and have the benefits we need to take care of our families. This is my Christmas wish.”
This was one of several actions workers participated in throughout the day as part of a national day of disruption. CTUL members and allies are now calling on Kohl’s to meet with the retail janitors who clean their stores in addition to an apology for the violent response from the mall security.
Workers from 10 different industries representing around a quarter of the entire workforce in the Twin Cities metro area unite in the #Fightfor15, calling on corporations and elected officials to ensure that $15 for families becomes a reality in Minneapolis and in all of Minnesota. Highlights include:
Last year Teresa Benson, a Minneapolis fast food worker and CTUL leader in the #Fightfor15, passed away. Despite working at McDonald’s for years, Teresa was homeless, had no medical care, and ultimately ended up losing her life on the streets. We cannot lose another community member! Striking workers will be joined by hundreds of community allies including U.S. Representative Keith Ellison.
For Kohl’s, the holiday season makes up for 30% of their annual sales. While corporations like Kohl’s make huge profits during the holiday season, the retail janitors who keep their stores clean struggle to survive. Join retail janitors in the call on Kohl’s to implement a Responsible Contractor Policy. This will put janitors on the path to having good paying, stable jobs, with benefits like paid sick days just like other retail janitors in the Twin Cities who recently won a union!
4:30-7:00pm, Unity March, Coffman Union at UofM, 300 Washington Ave. SE.
Student workers, full-time university workers, teachers, fast food workers, retail janitors, construction workers, retail workers, bakery workers, home healthcare workers, and airport workers unite in a march calling on corporations and elected officials to ensure that $15 for families becomes a reality in Minneapolis and all of Minnesota. The time is now!
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) is seeking applications for a full-time, two-year position as Coordinator of the Raise Workers’ Voices Campaign. This position will own the work of organizing individual donors, labor partners, and foundations to raise approximately $1.5 million in two years to take CTUL’s work to the next level. Click here for more information.
After six years of marches, strikes and more, retail janitors organizing with CTUL have won a permanent voice across the entire industry. The Twin Cities is now the first metropolitan area in the entire country where the retail janitorial industry is union.
Maricela Flores, CTUL member and retail janitor, in the Guardian about the victory: “I could have done nothing, but I chose to fight. This has been a long fight, but now I feel overjoyed. All the hard work has paid off.”
While the majority of the retail janitorial industry is now union, one company refuses to recognize workers’ right to organize: Kimco Cleaning. Kimco cleans Kohl’s, Home Depot and JC Penney in the Twin Cities.
TAKE ACTION TO STAND WITH WORKERS:
- Kimco workers are gearing up for a major action on November 29, 2016. Click below to donate now.
Today, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to pass Earned Sick and Safe Time. This historic vote comes after more than a year of leaders with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) and many other organizations fighting to win.
”Passing earned sick and safe time is a huge victory for workers and our families. Fast food workers and janitors with CTUL have been striking for the past few years for higher wages, union rights, a voice in the workplace and benefits like paid sick days and finally our city is taking a big step to help us workers and our families. We deserve to take care of our health and our families as well,” said Guillermo Lindsay, a McDonald’s worker and member of CTUL.
Hundreds of striking fast food workers and community allies came out for a day of action, fighting for $15, union rights, and paid sick days. The day started with an action at the McDonald’s at 471 Marion St. in St. Paul, and ended with an action at the McDonald’s at Lake and 2nd in Minneapolis.
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)