Festival for Justice Report

CTUL Festival for Justice

Community celebrates a year of victories with retail cleaning workers in the Twin Cities

Last Sunday, on October 16th, over 400 people came out for the Festival for Justice to enjoy an afternoon of Zumba, salsa, and lots of live music from B.U.G.S., Guante, Mayda, Brass Kings, and Grant Hart of Husker Du.

Latin Flavor leading Zumba with participants of the Festival

At the opening of the Festival, Mario Colloly welcomed everyone, explaining: “Today we gather with the broader community to celebrate the changes we have made in the retail cleaning industry so far, and discuss future steps we will take to ensure fair wages and working conditions for all workers. We have recovered an estimated $50,000 in unpaid wages and damages for retail cleaning workers across the industry, we have ended the illegal practice of wage deductions from workers’ paychecks at two cleaning companies, and many retail cleaners are reporting the first wage increases they’ve seen after years of declining wages and working conditions!”

CTUL members Nico, Elmer and Gerania at the welcoming table

Several special guests joined us at the festival, including U.S. Representative Keith Ellison and State Senator Patricia Torres-Ray.

“We came together and stood up against corporate abuse and exploitation…and we need to keep doing this because before we get justice, we’re gonna have to do this a lot more!” U.S. Representative Keith Ellison

“It is important to note that this year, Take Action Minnesota will award CTUL with the Progressive Leadership Award. I will be there. I will have a table there and I hope you will join me,” State Senator Patricia Torres-Ray.

Participants in the event signed pledge cards declaring that they would spend their money in stores that followed in line with their values of justice and dignity for all. Each person wrote down how much money they spend in groceries per week and committed that “My money will follow my values.” At the festival, CTUL and allies aggregated $250,000 in buying power committed these principles.

At the end, Veronica read a statement of solidarity with CTUL from the Indigo Girls.  Check out some photos from the event as well as the statement from the Indigo Girls below.

Click here to check out a short video of the salsa dancing class at the Festival for Justice

Guante…check out this video of “No Capes”, one of the songs Guante sang at the Festival

Mayda (check out some of her videos on Youtube here)

Brass Kings

Grant Hart from Husker Du

Statement of Solidarity from Indigo Girls:

“Indigo Girls stand in solidarity with the CTUL and the Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning. We recognize that the workers who do the backbreaking labor of cleaning the stores that we all shop in deserve better working conditions, benefits and a living wage. We applaud CTUL’s efforts and the victories they have achieved thus far and hope it will lead the way to stronger and fairer policies from all large retail chains. Si Se Puede!” Amy Ray & Emily Saliers,Indigo Girls