Minneapolis, MN – This afternoon negotiations with contractors for SEIU Local 26 security officers ended without a contract, despite a Sunday deadline from workers to strike.
“It’s beyond frustrating that these companies aren’t serious about negotiating a new contract,” said Fred Anthony II, a security officer who works at EcoLab in downtown St. Paul. “They walk away, saying they aren’t willing to meet again until mid-March. They can’t be serious if they’re only willing to meet once a month. We can’t keep dragging this out. We made it clear we would stay here as late as we needed, but they’ve just walked away.”
Without a new contract, security officers will go on strike as early as Monday.
Negotiations continue, however, for janitors, who are prepared to stay the whole night to win a new contract. The Minneapolis-St. Paul Contract Cleaners Association has said they’re willing to stay as late as it takes to negotiate a new contract before the Sunday deadline workers set. SEIU Local 26 janitors have said they will also go on strike as early as Monday if they do not win a new contract by Sunday.
“We have to do whatever it takes to win a fair contract,” said Brahim Kone, a janitor at Flint Hills Refinery. “Our lives and our families are at stake. We want to create and expand jobs to grow the middle class. We want to be able to support our families. To do that, we can’t accept the cuts our employers have proposed. We must win a contract that helps move us all forward.”
A new contract would represent the first important victory in a planned “Unlock Our Future” week of action being coordinated by an alliance of labor unions, faith-based organizations and community groups.
Just this week the groups sent a joint letter to the heads of U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and Target urging the corporations to do their part to resolve the crisis impacting Minnesota’s middle class—immediately. They set a deadline for Sunday, February 24 at noon.
SEIU Local 26 workers going on strike will join members of these organizations Sunday at 1:00 p.m. to start planning for their strike.
“There’s a lot at stake,” said Javier Morillo, president of SEIU Local 26. “For the more than 6,000 workers affected by these contracts, this is about stable, full-time jobs, about being able to provide for their families without public assistance. The corporate elite – U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and Target – are all enjoying success, and it’s time for the workers to succeed too.”
Separate contracts for janitors and security officers expired simultaneously on December 31 – since then, more than 6,000 workers throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan have been working without a contract. Janitors and security officers work side-by-side, cleaning and protecting property for contractors at some of Minnesota’s richest corporations.