“My name is Maricela Flores and I am a leader with CTUL. As you all may know, my coworkers and I have been organizing for the past six years in the retail janitorial campaign. We have been fighting for respect and dignity on the job, better wages, and working conditions to provide a better life for ourselves and our families.
You have stood with us on the front lines of pickets, have taken to the streets with us, and have even joined us to confront top executives of some of these companies over the years. You have been there to celebrate victories along the way as well, like the Responsible Contractor Policy that Target agreed to in recent years.
I would like to invite you to be a part of another important milestone in our journey.
Please save the date and join us at 1:00 pm on Thursday, October 13th for a huge announcement at the CTUL office located at 3715 Chicago Ave S, Mpls.”
The movement for worker voice is growing in leaps and bounds: retail janitors are on the verge of winning systemic change across the entire industry; the Fight for $15 is expanding beyond just fast food workers; we are establishing the right to paid sick days; CTUL members are driving a new worker-driven enforcement model in the Twin Cities; CTUL has moved into a new, low-wage worker of color run space in South Minneapolis; and much more! Join us as we take the movement to an entirely new level…
CTUL is seeking applicants for a lead organizer for our Worker Voice Capital Campaign. Click the link above for more details.
CTUL has moved!!
On our 9th year anniversary, CTUL moved into a new location in South Minneapolis. This new place the next step in the movement to establish a permanent voice for low-wage workers of color in the Twin Cities metro area. Two organizations are moving in with us at the new location, Inquilinxs Unidxs (which organizes renters to fight for their fair housing), and CANDO (Central neighborhood organization). More info on the move, and a grand opening party, coming soon…
Our new location is at 3715 Chicago Ave. S. Our phone line is temporarily down until September 14th. If you need to reach someone from CTUL, contact us by email. If there is something urgent, call Merle Payne at 612-859-5750.
Doors are open 9am-6pm – drop by and check out our new space!
With a mandate for a $15 minimum wage from voters, low-wage workers and advocates vow to pass a wage increase in 2016
“This has been an issue for many years,” said Steven Suffridge, a member of CTUL and fast food worker. “We’re asking for a $15 minimum wage so that we can afford to live in this city, because the cost of living continues to go up while our quality of life continues to go down. City leaders are acting like we are not worth $15. They say welcome to Minneapolis, the land of milk and honey. But we’re not getting milk and honey, we’re barely getting water and bread with the current minimum wage so we will keep fighting until we get $15.”
Back to School Actions Go Statewide
It’s time for Kohl’s to implement a Responsible Contractor Policy!
And read the powerful statement of solidarity from St. Paul Teachers here
Esteban, employed by Kimco to clean a Kohl’s store is calling on Kohl’s to contract with a responsible cleaning company with fair wages and benefits like paid sick days. “It would make a big difference in my life. I am part of a group of workers fighting to raise the standards in our industry because my family and I deserve to have safe and stable housing. Myself and other Kimco janitors have announced that our next actions in our campaign for justice will be in early August, during the Back to School Season.”
Saturday, August 20, 1-4pm
Meet at CTUL’s new space: 3715 Chicago Ave. S.
Over the past 10-15 years, wages and working conditions in retail cleaning have spiraled out of control, with constantly lowering wages and increasing workloads. Through the Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning, which is lead by Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), not only have workers stopped the downward spiral in the Twin Cities, they have also had several victories including the first wage increase they had seen in the industry in quite some time and the establishment of health and safety committees in the workplace. Workers are continuing to organize to expand on these victories to ensure that all retail cleaning workers have fair wages and working conditions.
Two years ago, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) won a huge victory with sub-contracted janitors who clean retail stores for Target in the Twin Cities metro area. After four years of organizing including leading three strikes against cleaning companies in 2013, and a year of dialogue between Target Corporation, CTUL and retail janitors, Target adopted a breakthrough Responsible Contractor Policy that was implemented for new cleaning contracts at their stores. The policy was the first of its kind nationally in the industry.
Most recently, Best Buy, one of Minnesota’s largest corporations, committed to play a leadership role in the retail industry by contracting a responsible janitorial company to clean Best Buy stores in the Twin Cities metro area. This is a significant step in the campaign to win justice for all retail janitors and provides strong leadership for other retail companies to follow.
Herberger’s is also in ongoing dialogue with CTUL about establishing a Responsible Contractor Policy in the cleaning of its stores.
We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and Black Lives Matter as a movement all across our nation. Click here to read full statement.
Growing movement for $15 on the ballot in Mpls
Around three years ago, a group of 200 fast food workers in New York sparked the imagination of the country, walking out on strike and demanding $15 and union rights. Since then tens of thousands of fast food workers have participating in rolling strikes, including multiple strikes in the Twin Cities with CTUL. The impossible became possible – workers have won raises in their workplaces across the country, and have led a movement to win $15 in Seattle, New York, Washington D.C. and many more places.
Photo by Jeff Wheeler from the Star Tribune. Click the link to see more photos from the actions.
Now it’s time for change in Minnesota. On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, CTUL, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, and 15 Now led actions with fast food workers at McDonald’s and then with workers across from across the city in City Hall before turning in 20,000 signatures to get $15 on the ballot in Minneapolis.
- “Advocates for $15 minimum wage rally in Minneapolis, turn in petitions,” Erin Golden, Star Tribune, June 30, 2016 (lots of great photos included in the article taken by Jeff Wheeler)
- “Minneapolis workers call for vote on $15 minimum wage,” Michael Moore, WorkDay Minnesota, June 28, 2016
- “Advocates make case for $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis,” Sarah McKenzie, Southwest Journal, June 27, 2016
- “Low-Wage Workers Present Signatures For $15 Minimum Wage Ballot Measure In Minneapolis,” Insight News, June 30, 2016.
Every spring, leadership of the largest, most powerful corporations in the world gather for their annual shareholder meetings. In these meetings, the 1% dictates to a large part the future of the economy for the rest of the world. Over the past few weeks, CTUL members who are a part of the Retail Janitor Campaign and the Fast Food Campaign attended several shareholders meetings to ensure that the voice of the low-wage workers who create the wealth of these companies is heard loud and clear…
HUGE VICTORY FOR RETAIL JANITORS!
- “Janitors’ protest turns into celebration outside Best Buy shareholder meeting,” Kavita Kumar, Star Tribune, June 14, 2016.
- “Retail janitors reach landmark agreement with Best Buy,” Michael Moore, WorkDay Minnesota, June 14, 2016.
For nearly six years, janitors who clean retail stores in the Twin Cities have organized to win fair wages, decent benefits and end wage theft and other illegal practices in the industry with CTUL, a Twin Cities worker center. Two years ago, Target Corporation agreed to implement a Responsible Contractor Policy to improve workplace conditions for retail janitors and ensure a safe and fair process for janitors that clean Target stores to have a voice at work.
Now, Best Buy, one of Minnesota’s largest corporations, is also taking a leadership role in the retail industry by ensuring that they use a responsible janitorial contractor to clean Best Buy stores. This is a significant step in the campaign to win justice for all retail janitors and provides strong leadership for other retail companies to follow. It comes at a time when stores like Herberger’s are taking positive steps towards implementing similar policies.
“I’m happy that Best Buy has heard our voices and has taken a leadership role to improve the janitorial industry here in Minnesota,” said Jose Gonzalez, a retail janitor employed by KBS to clean Best Buy stores, and member of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL). “I am confident that janitors who clean Best Buy will be able to begin a dialogue with our employer and improve our working conditions.”
Maricela Flores, who works for Carlson cleaning a Target store in the Twin Cities and is a member of CTUL, joined other retail cleaners in praising this positive step forward: “This news makes me very happy. We as workers have been organizing to change the reality facing too many families in our state by fighting for better working conditions and higher wages in the retail janitorial industry.Today, because of our struggle to bring these injustices to light, Best Buy has listened to our petitions and is showing leadership by agreeing to contract a responsible janitorial contractor to clean their stores. We hope that other stores will follow large corporations like Best Buy and Target in working to recognize the need for change in the retail janitorial field in Minnesota”
(Cliquean el Link de arriba para espanol)
Today, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to pass Earned Sick and Safe Time. This historic vote comes after more than a year of leaders with Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL) and many other organizations fighting to win.
”Passing earned sick and safe time is a huge victory for workers and our families. Fast food workers and janitors with CTUL have been striking for the past few years for higher wages, union rights, a voice in the workplace and benefits like paid sick days and finally our city is taking a big step to help us workers and our families. We deserve to take care of our health and our families as well,” said Guillermo Lindsay, a McDonald’s worker and member of CTUL.
Click here for CTUL’s complete statement about the victory
- “Minneapolis City Council approves sick-leave ordinance,” Star Tribune, Erin Golden, May 27, 2016.
- “Minneapolis passes sick and safe time ordinance,” Barb Kucera, WorkDay Minnesota, May 27, 2016.
- “Minneapolis City Council Votes for Paid Sick Leave Ordinance,” WCCO, May 27, 2016.
Janitors who clean Herberger’s and Macy’s in Minnesota are eligible to submit Wage Theft Claims as part of a Statewide $425,000 Class Action Settlement
CTUL partnered with janitors contracted to clean Herberger’s and Macy’s to file a statewide class action lawsuit against their company, Capital Building Services Group (CBSG), in which workers complain of wages as low as $4-5 an hour. Employees of CBSG in Minnesota are now eligible to submit claims as part of a recent $425,000 class action lawsuit settlement. The settlement includes injunctive relief, ensuring that all employees will get paystubs and will have the option to get paid by check.
To submit claims as part of the class action lawsuit, workers need to fill out a settlement claim form on or before May 26, 2016 and submit it to Adam Hansen, 4600 IDS Center, 80 South 8th St., Minneapolis, MN 55402.
Click here for a settlement claim form in English
Cliquean aqui para el formulario en Espanol
A Step Closer to Paid Sick Time in Minneapolis
Virginia Miller, CTUL member and retail janitor: “They can’t keep treating us like this. Working while sick, in constant fear.”
CTUL members joined dozens of members of NOC, Take Action MN, SEIU, and ISAIAH, to testify in the Minneapolis City Council Hearing for Earned Sick and Safe Time. Vote on the policy will come on May 27 at 10am. Click here for complete coverage of the rally and hearing.
- “Strong Support Expressed for Proposed Paid Sick Time Ordinance,” Southwest Journal, Sarah McKenzie, May 19, 2016
CTUL Members Gear Up for Shareholder Season: May-June
CTUL members Guillermo Lindsay & Kiki Guilmant join a delegation of 10 McDonald’s workers into the McDonald’s 2015 shareholder meeting
May and June are Shareholder Season for some of the largest, most powerful corporations in the world. This year, CTUL members who work in retail cleaning and fast food will attend the meetings of several of these companies to inform shareholders about the horrific conditions they have faced, from wage theft to poverty wages to unsafe workplaces, while cleaning and preparing food in stores in the Twin Cities. Workers will call out the companies that are part of the Minnesota Retailers Association for standing in the way of workers gaining paid sick days through state and municipal policies. Workers have shares to join meetings with: Kohl’s (May 11 in Wisconsin), McDonald’s (May 26 in Illinois), Best Buy (June 14, Richfield, MN), and Herberger’s (June 14 in Pennsylvania).
STAND WITH WORKERS:
CALL-IN & TWITTER ACTION: Join a national Twitter and Call-In action calling on large retail chains to use responsible janitorial contractors in the cleaning of their stores. Watch for an email from CTUL or contact Merle Payne for more details: email@example.com
TWIN CITIES DELEGATION TO McD SHAREHOLDER MTG May 25-26. Join a delegation of fast food workers and community allies heading to Chicago for McDonald’s annual shareholder meeting. The group will leave at 9am on May 25th and get back around 10pm on May 26th. All food, transportation, and lodging provided free of cost. Click here to sign up, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
4.14.16 Strike Report
NEW: Check out these incredible photos of the day of action
Hundreds of striking fast food workers and community allies came out for a day of action, fighting for $15, union rights, and paid sick days. The day started with an action at the McDonald’s at 471 Marion St. in St. Paul, and ended with an action at the McDonald’s at Lake and 2nd in Minneapolis.
Click here fore some amazing photos from the morning action by Marakah Mancini
- “Joining nationwide strike, Twin Cities fast food workers seek $15 an hour,” April 16, Steve Share, WorkDay Minnesota.
- “Minn workers join nationwide strikes for $15 minimum wage,” April 14, 2016, Fox 9 News.
- “Twin Cities Fast Food Workers Rally for Better Wages, Paid Sick Time,” April 14, 2016, WCCO TV.
- “Fast Food Workers in MN Protest as Part of Fight for 15 Movement,” April 14, 2016, Bring Me The News.
4.14.16 FAST FOOD STRIKE!
CTUL in the #Fightfor15
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) and the Fight for $15 are holding our biggest strike & protest ever on Thursday, April 14th – in 300 cities on 6 continents. Here in the Twin Cities, workers are standing up for $15 and union rights, and to win paid sick days in our jobs, in Minneapolis, and in St. Paul. Click on the links below to RSVP for the actions – and if you can’t make it, please share this image on Facebook to help spread word!
April 14 Fast Food Strikes in the Twin Cities:
We’re sick and tired of companies like McDonald’s keeping pay way too low and pushing off costs onto taxpayers. We’ve proven that these strikes, these protests WORK. We won $15 in Seattle, New York State, California and for hospital and nursing home workers in Pennsylvania. We keep winning because we keep organizing, we keep fighting.
Click here for more photos of the workers leading the #Fightfor15
See you in the streets!!
CTUL Members Fly to D.C. for Press Briefing on Wage Theft
Click here to read the press release
Monday, February 29, 2016: Earlier today, Leticia Zuniga and Abraham Quevedo hopped on a plane to Washington, D.C. to testify in a Congressional press briefing about wage theft, supporting the Pay Stub Disclosure Act. Leticia and Abraham are both part of a class action lawsuit that recently reached a proposed settlement for $425,000 in back wages for janitors who worked for a contracted company cleaning Macy’s and Herberger’s stores. The workers will join U.S. Representative Keith Ellison and U.S. Senator Al Franken on a panel of speakers supporting H.R. 4376. More to come…
2.18 STRIKE to #ReclaimOurDreams
(photos here from St. Paul Union Advocate)
Over 300 striking retail janitors and community allies stood on the picket line this morning outside of the Downtown Minneapolis Macy’s. A few updates on the strike:
- Photos from the strike
- Interview on Kare 11 with Jesus Sanchez, CTUL member and employee of Capital who cleans a Macy’s store, talking about why he is on strike.
- Video by Line Break Media showing support from elected officials who stood with striking janitors on the picket line.
- Press Highlights (click here for a link to all of the coverage):
- “Retail janitors pledge strikes will continue until conditions improve,” Union Advocate, February 18, 2016.
“Wage theft is an all too common problem for retail janitors,” Sanchez said. “We don’t need a band-aid. We need a cure. And that cure is a voice on the job, union rights and $15 an hour.”
Donate to support the ongoing Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning! The struggle is far from over, and we need your support to keep the movement going.
Days before strike, retail janitors win proposed class action settlement for over $400,000!
Click here to donate and support the Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning so we can keep the momentum going to change the industry!
And join striking workers tomorrow, 5:30-7am, outside of Macy’s in Downtown Minneapolis (700 Nicollet Ave)
Jesus Sanchez, CTUL member: “By uniting together my co-workers and I have won a big victory. But we shouldn’t be forced to sue our employer to be paid for hours that we already worked. Wage theft is an all too common problem for retail janitors. We don’t need a band-aid. We need a cure. And that cure is a voice on the job, union rights, and $15 an hour. My co-workers and I are prepared to strike on February 18th if Capital refuses to enter into sincere dialogue about these issues.” (Jesus works for Capital Building Group Services cleaning a Macy’s and Herberger’s store)
- “Twin Cities Janitors Reach $425,000 Settlement In Class Action Suit,” Sam Schaust, Twin Cities Business, February 17, 2016.
- “Nonunion janitors settle with building-cleaning firm,” Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune, February 16, 2016.
- “Janitors’ group announces $425,000 wage settlement,” Pioneer Press, February 16, 2016.
- “Retail cleaners recover over $400,000 through lawsuit,” Barb Kucera, WorkDay MN, February 16, 2016
- Click here for a complete list of press coverage about the lawsuit and the pending strike
Click here for a copy of the press release about the proposed settlement
FEBRUARY 17 STRIKE DEADLINE!
Retail janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning stores like Macy’s, Lunds & Byerly’s, Kohl’s, Sears and others braved the worst winter storm of the year to announce a February 17th strike deadline. Workers are calling on cleaning companies to open sincere dialogue regarding fair wages and ending wage theft in the industry, and are prepared to walk out on strike on February 18th, 2016.
STAND WITH WORKERS:
- Like and SHARE the above image on Facebook to spread word about the pending strike.
- Join workers on the picket line if the strike moves forward: February 18, 5:30am – ??, corner of 7th and Nicollet outside of Macy’s in Downtown Minneapolis.
- Support workers by volunteering for a role on strike day. We need drivers, marshals, and much more. Contact Brian Merle Payne from CTUL to volunter: email@example.com
Click here to see more photos of the strike announcement
(click on the link to read Jesus Sanchez’ story of why he is ready to strike)
#Fightfor15 on Black Friday
- “Workers Press Wage, Scheduling Demands on Black Friday,” MPR,Jon Collins, November 27, 2015
- “Low-Wage Workers Rally for Better Pay,” Star Tribune, Libor Jany, November 27, 2015
- “Retail workers protest wages, fair scheduling in Minneapolis,” Kare 11, November 27, 2015
- “Amidst Black Friday Frenzy, Workers Rally for Better Pay, Benefits in Minneapolis,” WCCO, CBS Minneapolis, November 27, 2015
- “Hourly workers rally on Black Friday for $15 minimum wage,” Fox 9 News, November 27, 2015
NEW: STRIKE UPDATE
Over 500 striking workers and community allies took to the streets in Minneapolis this on November 10, 2015! The day started bright and early at 5:30am in a picket with striking fast food workers at the McDonald’s at University and Broadway in Northeast Minneapolis. Workers then marched to the Macy’s in Downtown Minneapolis for a picket against cleaning companies with striking retail janitors. Finally, striking workers joined hundreds of other low-wage workers in a rally inside of Minneapolis City Hall.
- “A Letter to the Worker,” Workday Minnesota, Michael McDowell, November 12, 2015
- “Local Fast Food Workers Join Nat’l Strike For Better Wages, Paid Sick Days,” CBS Minnesota, November 10, 2015
- “Minneapolis Workers Rally for $15 Minimum Wage,” ABC 5 News, Dave Aeikens, November 10, 2015
- “Striking workers press on Minneapolis leaders for wages, benefits,” Star Tribune, Erin Golden, November 10, 2015.
- “Workers March for Wages, Scheduling,” MPR News, Jon Collins, November 10, 2015
- “Workers escalate campaign for higher wage, paid leave,” WorkDay Minnesota, Barb Kucera, Workday Minnesota, November 10, 2015
- “In Minneapolis, striking workers revive campaign for Working Families Agenda,” Union Advocate, November 10, 2015
Strike with fast food workers and retail janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning stores like Macy’s, Lunds & Byerly’s – November 20, 2015.
5:30am University and Broadway, NE Mpls
7:30am Macy’s in Downtown Minneapolis (700 Nicollet Mall)
9:30am Rally in Minneapolis City Hall calling for $15, fair scheduling, paid sick days, and an end to wage theft
NEW: Oct. 10 meeting and action to prep for 11.10.15 strike deadline (click here for photos and a report)
As CTUL was being recognized at the White House’s Worker Voice Summit for workers’ courageous organizing to transformed the retail janitorial industry, CTUL members turned out in force at Minneapolis City Hall to support the Working Families Agenda ($15, paid sick days, fair scheduling, and an end to wage theft in Minneapolis), and to announce a Strike Deadline in retail cleaning of November 10, 2015. Workers cited the ongoing class action lawsuit in the contracted cleaning of Macy’s stores, in which workers describe situations where they were making as little as $4-5 an hour!
Click here for background on all three big stories, including photos, news coverage, and more…
11/10 Strike Announcement:
- “Council votes, workers rally for Working Families Agenda,” Tim Blotz, Fox 9 News, October 7, 2015
- “Workers Hold Wage Rally at Minneapolis City Hall,” Esme Murphy, WCCO CBS, October 7, 2015
- “MplsWorks advocates make case for Working Families Agenda,” Steve Share, WorkDay Minnesota, October 7, 2015
- “Mpls. proposed workforce rules bring rally, opposition,” Kare 11, Lindsey Seavert, October 7, 2015
CTUL at the White House Worker Voice Summit:
- “Minnesota organizers to speak at White House labor summit,” Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio, October 6, 2015
- “Minnesotans to take part in White House ‘Worker Voice’ Summit,” Barb Kucera, WorkDay Minneseota, October 6, 2015
- “Searching for Worker Voices at the White House,” Justin Miller, The Prospect, October 9, 2015
NY Fast Food Workers Win $15
We can do better in Minneapolis and Minnesota
Dozens of fast food workers, retail workers and community allies gathered today to celebrate the huge victory in New York, and to call on Minneapolis to stand with working families by passing municipal policies for $15, fair scheduling, paid sick days and an end to wage theft.
Press coverage to be added soon. In the meantime, click here for some photos of the action.
Time for Fair Wages and an End to Wage Theft
Photo by Leila Navidi of the Star Tribune
CTUL member Duniyo Hussein reflects on a lawsuit regarding wage theft in the cleaning of Macy’s stores, and the recent bump in the Minnesota minimum wage. Click here for more details.
CTUL is hiring!
WORKERS RIGHTS DEFENDERS ORGANIZER AND TEAM LEAD
Program Description; Workplace Rights Defenders Program is a relatively new program that was born after winning the minimum wage increase in the state of Minnesota. With the new wage coming at a time when the state’s Department of Labor and Industry has only four investigators, it was clear that the need for enforcement would not be met by the state. CTUL created a committee of workers to begin to learn about their rights, to be the enforcers of these rights on their job and prepare themselves to advocate for expanded rights through public policy and corporate campaigns.
For more info, check out the job description here!
CTUL 4th Annual Workers Gala, August 15, 2015!
As an organization of workers and for workers, we depend on the support of allies like you to be able to continue to fight for fair treatment of low-wage workers.
We hope that you will join the low-wage worker movement through your $30 donation for tickets and/or sponsorship of the CTUL Gala and join us for dinner, music, dancing and a silent auction from 7:00 to 11:00 on the evening of Saturday August 15, 2015 at the United Labor Centre, 312 Central Ave in Minneapolis.
CTUL Receives The Advocates for Human Rights 2015 Special Recognition Award
CTUL member Hilario de Leon received the award on behalf of CTUL. Click here to read his acceptance speech.
6.9.15 Retail Janitor Strike Report
Retail janitors from over 50 stores in the Twin Cities metro area walked out on strike on 6.9.15 demanding fair wages and an end to wage theft. Just a day before the strike, CTUL published a new report about the prevalence of wage theft in the retail janitorial industry, including the class action lawsuit filed three weeks ago by employees of Capital who clean Macy’s and Herberger’s stores (“Held Up Without a Gun – Wage Theft in Minnesota’s Janitorial Industry“).
Well over 250 striking workers and community allies joined the picket line from 6-7:30am. Click here for a longer report from the strike. Check out more photos from the picket line: Photos by Ryan Stopera, Photos by Ryan Nelson
Following the picket line, striking janitors joined workers, faith leaders, and community leaders from around the state for an action at Best Buy Corporate HQ, calling on the company to stop blocking local and state policies that would help working families. Click here for a report of the action.
Highlights of Press (for a complete list of coverage, click here)
- “Department Store Janitors Strike in Downtown Mpls,” WCCO, June 9, 2015 (video)
- “Janitors strike wages in downtown Minneapolis,” Fox 9 News, Rachel Chazin, June 9, 2015
“I am going on strike because my employer, Capital Building Services Group, is cheating us,” Duniyo Hussein, who cleans the Macy’s at the Mall of America for CBSG, said. “$8.00 an hour is not fair for the work we do. We work hard. In the United States, no one should make such a low wage. I am going on strike so we can win fair wages and more rights at our job.”
“Held Up Without a Gun – Wage Theft in Minnesota’s Janitorial Industry” – New report highlights how backwards the retail janitorial really is. Join workers on strike demanding an end to wage theft, and calling for fair wages:
Tuesday, June 9th, 6:00 – 7:30am 700 Nicollet Mall, Downtown Minneapolis, in front of Macy’s
Janitors at Macy’s File Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Minimum Wage, Overtime Violations
(NEW: Press coverage – see below)
Workers at eight cleaning companies announced a 6/9 strike deadline, calling for companies to open dialogue to work together to end ongoing labor abuses. A strike could potentially impact the cleaning of 15 retail chains across the metro area including Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s, and Sears.
This morning, janitors who clean Macy’s and Herberger’s stores in the Twin Cities metro area filed a class action lawsuit against their employer, Capital Building Services Group. According to the court filing (Hussein, et al. v. Capital Building Services Group, Inc., Case No. 0:15-cv-02498), “Capital’s violations of state and federal wage and hour laws are systematic and severe”, including:
- Minimum wage violations: “employees’ wages fall well short of minimum wage – in some cases as little as $4 or $5 an hour.”
- Overtime violations: “Employees generally are not paid overtime when they work over forty hours in a workweek.”
- Underreporting of hours worked: “Defendant systematically underreports Plaintiff’s hours worked. It is not uncommon for entire shifts to disappear.”
Janitors who work for seven other cleaning companies stood with the Capital workers to announce a June 9th strike deadline. Stay tuned for more details about the lawsuit and the strike deadline announcement…
- “Macy’s, Herberger’s Janitors Say They’re Paid Only $5 An Hour,” Susan Du, City Pages, May 26, 2015
- “Janitors sue retail cleaning company in federal court, to protest today,” Adam Belz, Star Tribune, May 20, 2015
- “Janitors working at MN Macy’s and Herberger’s sue over wages,” Marty Moylan, MPR News, May 20, 2015
- “Retail store cleaners file class action lawsuit, set strike date,” Michael Moore, May 21, 2015
Get on the Bus!
McDonalds Shareholder meeting Action!
Chicago – May 19-21.
On April 15th, over 1,500 striking fast food workers, retail janitors, airport workers, university workers, students and community allies took to the streets in the Twin Cities demanding $15 an hour and union rights.
And now they are bringing the fight to the McDonald’s doorstep!
Join thousands of fast food workers from across the country in bringing the fight to McDonalds’ doorstep at their annual shareholder meeting.
For more information, contact
Isaac Martín firstname.lastname@example.org // 612.520.1326
Meals and lodging will be provided!
In the morning, Lucila stood with workers who complain of unpaid wages in the sub-contracted cleaning of Walgreens and other stores. Later that evening she received top honors from the Saint Paul Foundation for her anti-racism work, organizing with low-wage workers of color for fair wages, fair working conditions, and a voice in the workplace.
“Low-wage workers of color who are members of CTUL, like myself, are stepping up. We refuse to follow the vicious cycle of changing from job to job, stuck in a system of economic, social and racial inequity. Instead, we are working to change the jobs where we are, proactively working to build healthy communities for everyone. Target Corporation has demonstrated interest in following the leadership of low-wage workers of color. We are calling on Best Buy and other Minnesotan corporations to step up as well so that together we can establish economic, social and racial equity for all Minnesotans.”
“St. Paul Anti-Racism Leaders’ Humble Roots,” Susan Du, City Pages, April 27, 2015.
This is our moment…
“This is our moment — we are going to change service jobs from ones that drag our economy down into ones that lift up workers, families and communities,” said Carmela Palacios, Burger King employee and member of CTUL, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha/Center of Workers United in Struggle. “Fast-food workers are joining together and standing up for what’s right, and standing with so many people working in a variety of industries, we are stronger than ever. I know we will win.” “Fast food workers shut down Minneapolis intersection,” Barb Kucera, WorkDay Minnesota, April 15, 2015
Click here for a report with lots of photos from the 4.15 actions
We work for corporations that generate tremendous profits, but don’t pay employees enough to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent, and transportation. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Stand with workers on April 15 for $15 and Union Rights!
Unity Rally & March, April 15, 4:30 – 6:30 PM. Meet at UofM, march to Dinkytown McD
On April 15th tens of thousands of low-wage workers across the country will join striking fast food workers in the biggest mobilization to date in the Fight for $15. In the Twin Cities, striking fast fast food will be joined by university workers,retail workers, airport employees, home healthcare workers and more, all standing up to their employers demand $15/hour and union rights. Workers are also calling for municipal policies in Minneapolis for $15 minimum wage, paid sick days, fair scheduling and an end to wage theft.
Meet at Northrop Mall, University of Minnesota (84 Church St SE, Mpls) & March to Dinkytown McD’s (407 15th Ave SE). Click here to RSVP on Facebook.
Fast Food Strike Action, April 15, 5:30am. McDonald’s at Lake and 2nd in South Mpls
Stand with striking fast food workers who are demanding $15 and union rights. Location TBA
Best Buy Delegation, April 14, 11am. Location TBA.
Through its leadership in the Minnesota Business Partnership, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and Minnesota Retailers Association, Best Buy is lobbying for policies that benefit big corporations and the wealthiest Minnesotans, while keeping working families impoverished. Join CTUL and ISAIAH on Tuesday, April 14 to tell Best Buy that we demand an end to its corporate greed. Location TBA.
In building towards April 15th, CTUL members and allies have been leading numerous actions.
April 2 McDonald’s Workers Respond to “Raise”
On April 1st, only one day after fast food workers announced a strike for April 15, McDonald’s announced that they were raising wages for workers. Turns out the “raise” is incredibly small, and only impacts around 10% of McDonald’s workers. CTUL members who work at McDonald’s led a press conference to respond.
- “Fast Food Workers Plan Another Protest at Uptown McDonald’s This Afternoon,” Ben Johnson, City Pages, April 2
- “McDonald’s pay rise gets mixed reviews,” Boua Xiong, Kare 11 News, April 2
- “Labor Issues to Pressure McDonald’s Despite Pay Bump,” ABC Channel 5 News, April 2
March 31 Fast Food Strike Announcement
“April 15 we’re going on strike, all together, united for a better future,” Blanca Gonzalez, CTUL member, McDonald’s worker. Fast food workers, airport workers, and home healthcare workers united to announce the April 15 fast food strike, and the call for $15 and union rights.
- “Fast-food workers to rally on April 15 for $15 an hour,” Mike Hughlett, Star Tribune, March 31, 2015
- “Service Workers Intend to Strike on Tax Day Over Wages,” WCCA CBS News, March 31, 2015
- “Twin Cities fast food workers plan April 15 strike,” Union Advocate, March 31, 2015 (includes video)
- “Slower Fast Food on Tax Day? Nationwide Strike to Hit Twin Cities,” The Uptake, March 31, 2015 (includes video)
March 28, Worker gathering to prep for April 15
Fast food workers, retail janitors, airport workers, university workers, bank workers, and retail workers gathered to share organizing strategies and plan for April 15th.
6 teams, 12 stores, 2 companies, 1 message: Best Buy and Kohl’s, stop lobbying against paid sick leave an increases in the minimum wage!
March 18 Fast Food Worker Action
CTUL members who work in fast food and allies led an action as part of a national day of action with fast food workers, protesting the overwhelming number of burns in the workplace and the lack of proper first aid for burns.
Workers report that management at the Uptown McDonald’s has promised raises for many months but has not followed through, and that many workers have had to work shifts alone. CTUL members led a delegation to speak with the manager on March 17, backed by a crew of allies including around a dozen high school students from Stillwater and Northfield, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), and 15 Now Minnesota
Dozens of CTUL members and allies led delegations to the Roseville Best Buy and Kohl’s stores, calling on the companies to play a leadership role in strengthening basic worker protections for working Minnesotan families.
Long-time CTUL ally U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison has invited Veronica Mendez, as a representative of CTUL and low-wage workers in Minnesota, to President Barack Obama’s sixth State of the Union. Click here for more
“Yesterday the radio was filled with speeches from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today I will stand beside the first African-American to be elected to the House of Representatives from Minnesota listening to a speech from the first African-American President of the United States. While I am honored, I go with a conflicted heart…” – Veronica Mendez Moore (click here to read the entire statement)
“Rep. Keith Ellison on Obama’s Push to Sign TPP & Seek Authority to Expand War in Iraq & Syria,” Democracy Now!, Jan. 21, 2015 (fast forward to minute 22:30 to hear mention of CTUL)
“Progressive lawmakers invite advocates of low-wage workers to State of the Union speech,” Josh Hicks, Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2015
“Rep. Keith Ellison’s Low-wage Worker Organizer SOTU Guest: ‘I go with a conflicted heart,'” Veronica Mendez, In These Times, Jan. 20, 2015.
Sunday, Feb. 15th, 11am-2pm, 2511 E. Franklin Ave. (inside of Bethany Lutheran Church)
Join us for food, fun, updates on campaigns, and to meet the CTUL members who are leading the fight for fair wages, fair working conditions, and a voice in the workplace.
Suggested donation of $5 (student / low-income) to $15 at the door for all you can eat pancakes, egg bakes, coffee and more.
The Times They Are A-Changing…
- “Cleaning company signs agreement with janitors, SEIU” Adam Belz, Star Tribune, 12/11/14 (also in Bloomberg Businessweek)
- “Report Says Future of Low Paid Workers is Bleak” Bill Hudson, WCCO CBS News, 12/11/14
For over four years, retail janitors have struggled to change a backwards industry rampant with poverty wages, wage theft, dangerous working conditions, lack of benefits, etc. Workers have organized with CTUL, leading marches, strikes and more. Now Target Corporation has created a Responsible Contractor Policy in the contracted cleaning of its stores; and just last week, two days before the Black Friday Strike for Our Lives, one of the largest retail janitorial companies in the Twin Cities, Kellermeyer Bergenson’s Services (KBS), signed an agreement with SEIU that respects the rights of workers to organize, preventing strikes from taking place at stores cleaned directly by the company.
Despite the fact that Target Corporation has taken a leadership role in the industry by creating the Responsible Contractor Policy, one of the companies that currently cleans Target stores – Prestige Maintenance USA – has not taken the policy seriously. Many workers are still forced to work seven days a week, and the company has not engaged in sincere dialogue to address issues of poverty wages and poor working conditions. Because of wages and working conditions, janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning Target stores participated in the Black Friday strike.
Following the KBS agreement and the Black Friday strike, Target Corporation put out a public statement about the contracted cleaning of its stores: “We are very pleased by the progress that some vendors have made and continue to strongly encourage other vendors that haven’t made similar progress to come to the table with SEIU and CTUL and work together in good faith.” In the statement, Target emphasized that “to the extent our vendors fail to do so we will hold them accountable.”
The times, they are a-changing…workers are calling for change, the broader community is calling for change, Target Corporation is calling for change, KBS is calling for change…it’s time for Prestige and other retail janitorial companies to catch up to the times! Click here for more detailed information.
#StrikeFastFood Rocks the Twin Cities
Picture by The Union Advocate
Thousands of fast food workers in over 190 cities around the country walked out on strike on December 4th, demanding $15 and union rights. Here in the Twin Cities, over 400 workers and community allies braved the cold for two actions at 6am and noon. Click here for a full report.
CTUL member Guillermo Lindsay in CBS MoneyWatch: “I’d rather live than survive. What about you?” Click the link below for the entire article, and click here for local coverage.
“Fast-food nation: Workers stage nationwide protests,” Bruce Kennedy, CBS MoneyWatch, Dec. 4, 2014
“Strike for Our Lives” 11.28.14
Retail janitors who work for contracted companies cleaning large stores like Home Depot, Sears, Kohl’s and others walked out on strike today at over 50 stores in the Twin Cities, demanding fair wages and the right to organize. Hundreds of allies stood with workers in the freezing cold for three hours. Click here for more pictures from the picket line.
Recently, Target Corporation committed to play a leadership role by implementing the industry’s first Responsible Contractor Policy. Yet, the companies that clean Target stores are not only ignoring workers’ voices, they are also ignoring Target by not respecting the new Responsible Contractor Policy. Workers still report having to work seven days a week, ongoing sub-poverty wages that take a toll on workers’ health, and no clear path to ensure workers’ voices. Since these and other large cleaning companies continue to pay poverty wages and refuse to take workers seriously, workers at four cleaning companies walked out on strike: Prestige Maintenance USA, Carlson Building Maintenace, Kimco Services and Diversified Maintenance Systems.
- “Workers Strike on Black Friday,” KSTP Channel 5, Nov. 28.
- “Some MN Workeres Strike on Black Friday,” ABC News, Channel 6, Nov. 28.
- Minnesota News Round Up, Pierce County Herald, Nov. 28.
- Short YouTube video by 99 Pickets: “CTUL #blackfriday strike“
- “They toil all hours to provide holiday service,” Op-Ed by Representative Ryan Winkler in the Star Tribune, Nov. 27.
- “Unions plan Black Friday strike to kick off series of protests,” Star Tribune, Adam Belz, Nov. 26.
Black Friday Week of Action
“Fighting to Live, Not Just Survive!”
“They toil all hours to provide holiday service,” Op-Ed by Representative Ryan Winkler in the Star Tribune, Nov. 27
So this Thanksgiving, we owe Minnesota’s low-wage workers a debt of gratitude for making our favorite holiday celebrations possible. We should also thank them for reminding us that our economy needs to change and that it can change, if people speak up and start demanding better. We should support the low-wage workers who are standing up for all of us
- Friday, November 28, 6am. “Strike for Our Lives“: Retail janitors with CTUL have set a Black Friday strike deadline. Picket 6-9am, The Quarry, 1520 New Brighton Blvd., Mpls
- Thursday, December 4, 6am and noon. Fast Food Actions. Join fast food workers with CTUL and home health care workers with SEIU HCMN in the Fight for $15. Meet outside of Walker Library in Uptown (2880 Hennepin Ave, Mpls) at 6am; 34th and Nicollet at noon.
Donate to the Retail Janitor Strike Fund
Background: The Minnesota Department of Health recently published a report on poverty and health in the state, highlighting the fact that Minnesotans who live in areas with the highest median household income live an average of 8 years longer than those who live in areas with the lowest median household incomes. According to the report: “The growing economic inequities and the persistence of health disparities in our great state are a matter of life and death for many.”
This holiday season, low-wage workers from across the state of Minnesota are fighting to take back the years that companies are stealing off working families’ lives. Stand with retail janitors and fast food workers with CTUL, Walmart workers with OUR Walmart, airport workers with 15 Now, home health care workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, the fight for paid sick days with Take Action Minnesota, and other low-wage workers from across the state of Minnesota who are joining together through Minnesotans for a Fair Economy (MFE) for a Black Friday Week of Action, November 28 – December 5, 2014:
Black Friday Week of Action:
- Friday, November 28, 6am. Retail Janitor “Strike for Our Lives“: Retail janitors with CTUL have set a Black Friday strike deadline. Picket 6-9am, The Quarry, 1520 New Brighton Blvd., Mpls
- Friday, November 28, 10am. “March for Our Lives”. Take Action Minnesota together with striking Walmart workers from OUR Walmart are leading a mass march demanding paid sick days. Meet at University Ave. & N. Griggs St., St. Paul.
- Saturday, November 29, 7pm. “Food Chains”, a new film about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). At the end of the film there will be a panel discussion including a worker from the CIW and CTUL.
- Tuesday, December 2, 4pm. Greater MN Worker Center Community Action stand in solidarity and THANK Retail and Meat Packing Workers for their hard work this season and to acknowledge their year-round battle for fair employment opportunities. 4PM 4101 W Division St. St. Cloud, MN 56301 Crossroads Mall. 4:45PM 113 Waite Ave S. St. Cloud, MN 56301 Cashwise Foods
- Thursday, December 4, 6am. Fast Food Actions. Join fast food workers with CTUL and home health care workers with SEIU HCMN in the Fight for $15. Meet outside of Walker Library in Uptown (2880 Hennepin Ave, Mpls) at 6am.
- Thursday, December 4, 12pm. Fast Food Actions Round 2! Meet at 34th and Nicollet at noon.
- Wednesday, December 5, 12pm. Working America and Take Action MN Release of Report on Low-Wage Worker Struggles Poverty-Wage Jobs. Report details data around Earned Sick Days, Wage Theft, Unfair Scheduling and more. 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155 – Room 181 State Office Bldg
- Friday, December 5, 12pm. Airport workers’ 15 Now Rally for $15/hour and a Union. Support MSP International Airport Workers who are organizing with SEIU Local 26, 15 NOW and IAM as they join the national fight for $15 and their right to a union. Meet at the Terminal 1 Ticketing Drop off Area at 12:00 PM
Retail Janitors Set Black Friday Strike Deadline
Over 100 workers and community allies braved the cold to join the announcement of a strike deadline with retail janitors outside of the Home Depot in Richfield. Last June, after a series of meetings with CTUL and workers, Target Corporation created a Responsible Contractor Policy that ensures that companies contracted to clean Target stores will open dialogue with workers to improve working standards in the industry. Since the announcement, the two companies that clean Target stores and a third company that cleans other stores in the Twin Cities have all opened dialogue, yet they have not seemed to take workers’ concerns seriously. Other cleaning companies have refused to talk at all.
We are fighting to live, not just survive!
“We will no longer sit back quietly as cleaning companies steal years off of our lives and the lives of our families by paying poverty wages. On Black Friday, we will ‘Strike for Our Lives’ against all of the cleaning companies that refuse to respect our right to organize without fear of retaliation,” — Maricela Flores, retail janitor and CTUL member.
- “Twin Cities retail janitors threaten to strike on Black Friday,” Star Tribune, Adam Belz, November 11, 2014.
- “Twin Cities retail janitors announce Black Friday strike deadline,” Workday Minnesota, Howard Kling, November 11, 2014.
- “Janitors Threaten Strike Against Big Box Retailers On Black Friday,” The UpTake, Bill Sorem, November 11, 2014.
CTUL is a low-wage worker-led organization that is fighting for fair wages, fair working conditions, and a voice in the workplace for all workers in the Twin Cities metro area. Currently CTUL is leading three campaigns:
- Campaign for Justice in Retail Cleaning: Over the past 10-15 years, wages and working conditions in retail cleaning have spiraled out of control, with constantly lowering wages and increasing workloads. After four years of organizing, including three strikes against cleaning companies in 2013, workers have won significant changes in the industry. Most recently, after a year of dialogue between Target Corporation, CTUL and retail janitors, Target is taking a leadership role in the industry by adopting new language in an unprecedented Responsible Contractor Policy. Click here for more information on the campaign.
- Fast Food Campaign: Fast food workers in the Twin Cities are organizing with CTUL as part of the national Fight for $15 and the right to a union. Click here for more information on the campaign, including a report on workers’ first strike in the Twin Cities on September 4, 2014.
- Defensores de Derechos / Workplace Rights Defenders: Low-wage workers participate in a series of four in-depth workshops on workplace rights and how to document violations of workplace rights. After participating in four workshops workers form the Defensores Committee, which will facilitate workshops with other workers and will gather information to publish a report in September 2015 on low-wage work in the Twin Cities. Come back soon for more information on Defensores.
What an incredible day! Fast food workers across the country are rising, demanding fair wages and working conditions. Click here for a full report on the fast food strike here in the Twin Cities organized by CTUL, including photos, press coverage, videos and more…
After four years of organizing including leading three strikes against cleaning companies in 2013, and a year of dialogue between Target Corporation, CTUL and retail janitors, Target is taking a leadership role in the industry by adopting new language in an unprecedented Responsible Contractor Policy that will be implemented for new cleaning contracts at their stores. The policy is the first of its kind nationally in the industry. CTUL is now calling on every other major retail stores to follow Target’s leadership by adopting the same Responsible Contractor Policy, including:
- Protecting and ensuring workers’ rights to collectively bargain with their employers;
- Ensuring that workers have the right to form safety committees in the workplace made up of at least 50% workers who are designated by their co-workers; and
- Ensuring that workers are not forced to work seven days a week.
This victory paves the way for workers to gain fair wages, benefits, and a voice in the workplace, and has implications that move well beyond the estimated 1,000 retail janitors in the Twin Cities, opening the door to ensure that low-wage workers of color have a place at the table in deciding the future of work. Fundamentally this is part of CTUL’s vision of empowering low-wage workers to play a leadership role in reorganizing the economy to ensure that it works for everyone, not just the 1%.
- CTUL’s analysis of the victory
- Statements of support for workers with this victory from U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, National Guestworker Alliance, Janice Fine, and many more.
- CTUL Video about the victory
- Photos and Report from Victory Press Conference
- “Target Adopts ‘Breakthrough’ Policy for Janitors,” Kare 11 News, Lindsey Seavert, June 10, 2014
“The janitors who clean Twin Cities Target stores announced victory today, after the retailer agreed to a new policy that will give the workers better conditions, including the right to collectively bargain, and ensure workers are not forced to work seven days a week.”
- “Target Bends to Labor, Tells Contractors to Meet with Unions,” Bloomberg Businessweek, Josh Eidelson, June 12, 2014
“…a strong core of leaders in the industry, who have gone on three strikes…that’s the mechanism of enforcement.”
- “Janitors at Target stores to see new protections in contracts,” MPR, Tom Weber, June 10, 2014
And in case you missed the reports of previous actions…
Video from Labor Education Services:
What a day! Hundreds of workers and community allies made it through the freezing cold for four and a half hours on a picket line with striking retail janitors this morning. Click here for pictures from the picket.