Teachers Stand with Retail Janitors

Written by Nick Faber, Vice President of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, elementary science teacher in Saint Paul for last 30 years

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Just like Kohl’s, the 3600 educators who we represent are excited about the Back to School season.

They are excited to meet their new students and families. They are excitedly rearranging and cleaning their room, planning out new lessons for reaching the beautiful students that will be before them.

Kohl’s is excited about this time too. But they are excited about profits.

This is a big profit making time for Kohl’s, and they need to step up and do right by the janitors contracted to clean their stores and the families we serve.

It is not fair to have janitors working at poverty wages where they can’t even afford to shop they work.

Our members see the students of families all time who are paid so little, with no paid sick time:

  • We see students showing up sick because their parents cannot take a day off work without fear of losing their jobs.
  • We see parents who want to come to conferences and other school functions, but they can’t because they are working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.
  • We see older brothers and sister not coming to school because they have to stay home with younger siblings who are sick.
  • We see students who can’t concentrate cause they’re hungry.
  • We see students who can’t concentrate cause they haven’t slept.

St Paul Teachers Bargaining Team

St. Paul Teachers on the picket line with striking retail janitors in February 2016

Being a janitor is honorable, important work that deserves an honorable pay. Ask any educator who is the most important staff members to know and respect in your school and they’ll tell ya – it ain’t the principal – it’s the custodial staff and the secretaries. Our janitors take care of our space and our needs so we can focus on serving students.

Kohl’s needs to recognize the importance of the janitors who clean their stores in creating an inviting climate for spending money, and they should be ready to share it with those janitors.

The Saint Paul Federation of Teachers stands with the janitors here and calls on Kohl’s to do right by them and their families all year long!