Press Conference Report April 25, 2012

APRIL 25, 2012

CTUL Press Conference

Janitors Say They Worked Seven Days a Week with No Overtime Pay

CTUL Releases Report Documenting Problems in Janitorial Industry 

 

Over 50 workers and allies came out today for a press conference on the public sidewalk at the corner of Lake and Nicollet in front of Kmart, launching the next phase of the Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning.  The press conference focused the spotlight on Diversified Maintenance (a cleaning contractor for Kmart, Sears, Lord & Taylor, Target, Best Buy and others) as an example of the need for change in the retail cleaning industry.  Workers called on representatives of Diversified Maintenance to meet with CTUL and workers. (Click here for a copy of the press release)

“It is ironic that many of us work in a place filled with food and yet we can barely feed our families,” Mario Colloly, former retail cleaning worker.
 
 
We, the workers who clean different stores like Kmart, Sears, Best Buy, Target, and others, contribute to the prestige of these stores through our work…But what happens with us, the workers who carry out the cleaning work?  The stores contract different companies like Diversified and Carlson among others, who then overwork and underpay the cleaning workers,”  Alejandro Quirino, Diversified Maintenance worker.
 

Workers announced a lawsuit against Diversified Maintenance, in which workers say they worked seven days a week with no overtime pay.  (Click here for a copy of the lawsuit)

“I worked as a cleaner for Diversified Maintenance for about four and a half years.  For years I worked 8 hours per night, seven days a week without a day off…However, in that time, I was not paid time and a half for the 16 hours of overtime,” Leticia Baeza, former Diversified Maintenance worker.
 

Michael Healy, one of the lawyers who has filed the lawsuit with workers
 

At the same time CTUL released a report that argues that low wages and other problems “pervade the retail janitorial industry in Minnesota and throughout the United States.”

(click here for a complete copy of the Report)
 

“This study sheds light on the reality faced by thousands of retail cleaning workers around the country as well as here in the Twin Cities, citing multiple examples of federal lawsuits and United States Department of Labor investigations that have happened in the industry regarding unpaid overtime wages, all taking place over the past decade. It is shocking to learn that such conditions exist in the shadow of stores like Kmart and Sears,” said Stephen Philion, Associate Professor of Sociology, St. Cloud State University. 
 

At the end of the press conference, workers announced that they would be joining the May 1st March, in which hundreds of allies with MIRAc and other organizations will gather in front of Kmart on the public sidewalk at Lake and Nicollet for the annual celebration of International Workers’ Day.

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We’ll see you all out there in front of Kmart on May 1st at 3:30!!  (check out the Facebook page for May 1st March here)