On December 31, the contract for 6,000 janitors and security officers in the Twin Cities area expired. For almost three months, janitors and security officer have sought to bargain and avoid a confrontation with their employers. But the cleaning and security contractors do not seem to share the same goal. Neither the cleaning or security contractors have yet to reach agreement on a single contract provision with the workers.
The janitorial companies have said they want to replace over 1,000 full-time jobs with part-time jobs that come with a 40% pay cut, and no health insurance, vacation, or sick days. There has been no progress in the security officers’ negotiations. The companies canceled one bargaining session at the last minute, showed up four hours late for the next one, and then said they couldn’t meet again for three weeks.
“The average full-time worker qualifies for public assistance due to low wages and a lack of affordable healthcare,” said Harrison Bullard, Vice President of Local 26. “When workers are forced to rely on public assistance because the rich, corporate elite don’t pay the cost of doing business, all of us end up paying more.”
If Local 26 members vote on February 9 to authorize a strike, the bargaining committees would then decide when and if a strike was necessary, as well as set a date for a strike. If a strike were to happen, it would be one of the largest strikes to ever happen in downtown Minneapolis.