9/29 Press Release

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

 CONTACT:  Veronica Mendez, CTUL, 612-702 2120veronica@ctul.net 

CTUL and Workers who Clean Kmart Picket Demanding Fair Pay From Diversified Maintenance Systems 

CTUL and retail cleaning workers picket outside the Kmart on Lake St protesting the pay practices of Diversified 

Minneapolis – Today, about 250 retail cleaning workers and supporters with CTUL picketed outside the Kmart on Lake St in Minneapolis to protest the pay practices of Diversified Maintenance Systems. Today’s action is part of an ongoing struggle for improved wages and working conditions for workers at Diversified Maintenance Systems, which cleans Kmart, Sears, Target and other stores.

After months of attempted negotiation with the company, workers and CTUL brought to light numerous problems happening at Diversified including:

  • 6 lawsuits and 1 department of labor investigation in the past 6 years alleging violations of federal labor law
  • One of these lawsuits is in Minnesota where 12 workers filed the lawsuit charging that the company required them to work overtime hours without overtime pay.  This lawsuit recently received conditional class action status which could be applied to workers at approximately 130 stores
  • In August, 2012, seventeen Twin Cities workers filed complaints against Diversified with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding alleged unsafe working conditions including being locked in the store overnight while they worked. OSHA has stated that apparent violations were observed and citations have been issued to the company
  • While many area janitors make $13.42 an hour, workers at Diversified make around $8 an hour

“Since the company has refused to meet with us we have had no choice but to take these issues to public agencies, into the courts, and into the streets,” said Blanca Jimenez, Diversified cleaning worker and member of CTUL. “We will not stop until they meet and agree to fair wages and working conditions!”

City Council Members Elizabeth Glidden and Betsy Hodges, as well as State Senator Jeff Hayden stood in solidarity with workers calling on Diversified to meet with them. State Senator Jeff Hayden said, “Thank you for having the courage to fight because sometimes its hard to think about fighting when your families are suffering. We want to say to those at Diversified, it is time to pay a fair wage! We are going to do everything we can at the Minneapolis City Council and at the Capitol to get fair wages and working conditions. That is my solemn promise.”