“My heart is blossoming,” Maricela Flores, CTUL member
Report from June 10 Victory Announcement
Over 50 workers and community allies packed the house for the June 10th victory press conference where CTUL announced the huge victory with sub-contracted janitors who clean retail stores in the Twin Cities metro area. Click here for a description of the victory, including a video documenting the history of the campaign.
The highlight of the day came when Maricela Flores, employee of Carlson Building Maintenance who cleans a Target store, expressed how she felt after all of the years of struggle to win this victory.
“My heart was getting tense from so many years of facing poverty wages, and so much fighting and effort to change that reality. But it’s been a fruitful struggle, and now my heart is blossoming.”
The press conference opened with a statement from Enrique Barcenas, employee of Prestige Maintenance USA who cleans Target stores in Apple Valley, MN.
“I am hear today motivated by all the injustices we have faced…this victory opens the path to fight against those injustices and win real, lasting change.”
Doran Schrantz, Executive Director of ISAIAH, discussed the victory from a health perspective, looking a a recent report that was released by the Minnesota Department of Health regarding the connections between poverty and health.
“Low wage workers die 8 years earlier then high income earners – 8 years! Workplace policies and practices are stealing years off of our lives…We are calling on all other corporations and retailers to also take a lead on health”
The interim pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church, Susan Masters, brought important insight into the day. Her partner, Bob Hulteen, was the first person on staff of the organization that started CTUL – Workers Interfaith Network. And now Susan is the interim pastor of the church where CTUL is based.
“In relation to those who are poor, Martin Luther’s insights into the meaning of the commandments against killing, stealing, and coveting are sobering. We violate ‘you shall not kill’ when we do not help and support others to meet their basic needs. CTUL has long been a moral compass for the broader twin cities on these matters of workplace injustice”
Several elected officials then read statements of support with CTUL and the workers.
State Representative Ryan Winkler, author of the bill that successfully raised the minimum wage in Minnesota: “Thank you all for setting a fine example for all of us in this state…your leadership your stellar example will make this day memorable for so many”
State Senator Patricia Torres Ray, a long-term ally who has stood side-by-side with workers in this struggle since the beginning: “Thank you for you for your strength and courage, and talking us all to a better place, a place of justice”
State Senator Jeff Hayden, another long-term ally of CTUL and workers: “CTUL has done an amazing job of ensuring that people are treated humanly in the workplace.”
Finally Lucila Dominguez, CTUL staff and member who has worked as a retail janitor in the Twin Cities for nearly a decade, closed the press conference with a call on other retail stores to follow Target’s lead by adopting the same Responsible Contractor Policy.
“What Target has done is a very important step. But now we call on other stores, including Sears, Kohl’s and Michael’s, to follow the leadership role that Target has begun to play.”