Enrique Barcenas, CTUL member, works for Prestige Maintenance cleaning a Target store
My name is Enrique Barcenas and I work for Prestige Maintenance cleaning Target stores in Apple Valley. Me and another striking worker from another company, Carlson Building Maintenance, drove with some allies 15 hours without sleeping at all, to have the chance to speak with Target representatives. I was nervous because I didn’t know what it would be like to meet with these people who have so much power. I didn’t know if they would listen to us or what they would say to us. But once I was sitting in the meeting, I lost my fear. I realized that I was sitting across the table from some pretty powerful people…which meant that I was also a powerful person.
In that meeting, there were a total of four striking workers who clean 3 Target Stores and a Home Depot. We were able to tell these representatives what we and our co-workers face everyday cleaning their stores – Miserable wages, work overload, and poor working conditions. At the end of the meeting, Target representatives agreed to meet again to continue our discussion. Hopefully, it will be productive and we can work together to improve wages and working conditions in the retail cleaning industry. However, until we have some concrete improvements, we will continue the struggle to get contractors to meet with us as well.