Minneapolis, Minn – After months of bargaining, and in response to stalling and delays from employers, janitors with SEIU Local 26 have announced they will walk off the job on an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike on Wednesday. Specifics about locations and times of picket lines will be announced to the press starting Wednesday morning, with a community rally from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm at U.S. Bank Plaza in Minneapolis that evening. The strike will hit some of the largest and most prominent buildings throughout the metro over the course of the day. It will be the first strike by sub-contracted union janitors in the Twin Cities in decades.
“At a time of increasing wealth for a small few, we are fighting for a fair contract that will not only help our families, but start to roll back the racial and economic inequalities facing our state,” said Brahim Kone, a St. Paul janitor and leader on the bargaining team who will be going on strike. “We are contracted to clean the buildings of some of the most wealthy corporations in the world, yet our calls for a fair contract are being ignored. We want $15 for all workers, a solution to our workload crisis that sees many janitors clean the equivalent of over 20 homes every single night, and policies that allow us to have healthy families. We are fighting for our own families, but we also want our fight to show others that you don’t have to accept the status quo. Our state and economy are not working for everyone, and the people who benefit from the economic and racial disparities they created clearly won’t give up without a fight. With employers dismissing all of our proposals, we see no choice but to go on strike to win what is right. Our campaign has been about the call to ‘Reclaim Your Dreams,’ and we hope the public will stand with us Wednesday as we go on strike as part of that fight.”
Background: On January 23rd, janitors with SEIU Local 26, 90% of whom are people of color, voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a unfair labor practice strike as their employers continue to stall and intimidate workers in bargaining over a new contract for the 4,000 janitors in the Twin Cities. Workers have been fighting for a $15 floor for all workers, a fix to a growing workload crisis and policies that support healthy families. In response they have only seen stalling from employers. The bargaining committee announced a Feb. 14th deadline to reach a fair contract that allows for healthy families and strengthens our community by fighting to address income and racial disparities plaguing our state. That deadline came and went without any real progress towards a deal. Janitors have held 11 negotiating sessions since October with their employers. They have no more bargaining sessions scheduled this week. Their current three-year contract expired on Dec. 31st.