2015-16 Contract Campaign

**En español abajo

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Twin Cities Janitors Win Tentative Agreement on New Contract

After months of fighting, contract wins $15 for thousands of janitors, the largest wage increases in decades, concrete steps to address workload crisis, healthcare improvements and more

Minneapolis, Minn – In their 18th negotiation session, after 12 hours of bargaining that started Sunday afternoon and ended after 1 a.m. Monday morning, janitors and their employers reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract. With the tentative agreement, which will be brought to the membership this weekend for approval, janitors won big gains following their 24-hour ULP strike, civil disobedience and countless rallies and marches with supporters. Full background on the contract campaign at bottom. 

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Brahim Kone, a janitor from St. Paul and leader on the bargaining team, highlighted why janitors were so excited with the agreement and why they are advocating for members to vote yes on the contract.

“This was a hard fight, but we were fighting for a better life for our families and a step forward on rolling back racial disparities in our state, and the bargaining team is so proud of the final result that we are bringing back to the full membership” said Kone, a father of three. “Alongside many other important wins, we won the largest raise in decades for Twin Cities janitors, moving full time workers like myself over $15 immediately, and for the first time we won steps forward on addressing our workload crisis. This is a big win for our union, and a big win for our community. Janitors stood together through many months to win what is right, and we are so excited for this victory.”

Lucia Guaman, a janitor who works for Harvard cleaning RBC Plaza in Minneapolis, highlighted why the groundbreaking wins on workload are so important to janitors with SEIU.

“Winning new policies about workload, including walkthroughs with union stewards and a plan to do a worker-centered third-party study about the real challenges facing janitors so we can end this workload crisis once and for all, are huge wins for janitors and our families,” said Guaman. “My supervisor once told me, when I brought up our increasing workload, to ‘vacuum with one hand, mop with the other and dust with your mouth.’ No one deserves this treatment, but people were intimidated to discuss workload or even report when they get injured. Now we have an avenue to fix this crisis, and we hope this means we no longer will hear stories about janitors too hurt and sore from work to play with their children. We have been fighting to live, not just survive, and this is a huge step towards that goal.”

Members of the union will vote on the full proposal this weekend.

Main contract wins include:

1.  Largest Janitorial Wage Increases in Over 20 years

  • Over 60% of all janitors will immediately get raises to over $15/hour
  • All full time janitors will receive raises of $.50, $.50, $.40, $.40
  • Full timers will reach $16.42 by the end of the 4 year contract, a 12.3% increase from current wages
  • Part timers will receive the same 12.3% increase

2.  Historic New Workload Protections 

  • Worker-centered enforcement through worksite reviews and walkthroughs of janitor’s workloads
  • A groundbreaking professional study through the University of Minnesota on the workload problems in our worksites, developed through an industry wide committee

3.  Expanded Part Time Benefits

  • For the first time part-time janitors will receive full healthcare benefits and will have paid sick days

4.  Improved Benefits for Full time Janitors 

  • Healthcare benefits improved, low premiums protected and disability pay increased

5.  Better Job Security

  • Prevented boss proposal to cut full time positions in the market
  • Janitors won a “just cause” clause for the first time, which means they cannot fire janitors without reason

6.  Other Wins 

  • Company must make “good faith effort to accommodate” workers who want to take New Years Eve or Eid off from work on paid time
  • Protections of benefits when buildings switch contractors
  • A better process for accessing earned vacation time

Background on contract negotiations for janitors: On February 17th the janitors with SEIU Local 26 walked off the job on a 24-hour ULP strike, and on February 25th 11 janitors and allies took arrest in peaceful civil disobedience at U.S. Bank Headquarters. The sub-contractors who employ the janitors to clean some of the most prominent and wealthy buildings in the state held 18 negotiation sessions with janitors starting in October of 2015, including multiple marathon sessions that lasted over 10 hours. The janitors in SEIU Local 26 are over 90% people of color, so fair pay and benefits have an immediate impact on the communities most impacted by our state’s racial and economic disparities, some of the worst in the country.

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Security Officers Ratify Historic Agreement with 92.5% Approval!

The contract, covering 2,000 security officers, will see some Twin Cities workers receiving a 50% raise over the four year contract.

 

Fighting_to_Live_banner_rsMinneapolis, Minn— Twin Cities security officers with SEIU Local 26 ratified a ground-breaking new contract! All current officers will achieve a minimum of $15 an hour wage and all future officers will be on a path to do the same. The contract also won more sick days, an improvement in healthcare cost for families and for the first time ever combines the Suburban and Downtown contracts to create more equity. The agreement will give substantial raises over the course of the contract for all of the over 2,000 security officers who protect buildings around the Twin Cities that house some of the most prominent and wealthy corporations in the country.

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James Matias, a security officer and SEIU Local 26 Executive Board member from St. Paul who was on the bargaining committee, saw firsthand how officers in the union stood together to win this pioneering contract.

“Security officers in the Twin Cities fought hard for this contract, and are proud that we have won such an impressive victory for thousands of working families. Some security officers are currently at $10 an hour, so a jump to $15 by the end of the contract will result in a 50% pay increase, which will be a huge change,” said Matias, who lives in St. Paul with his wife and kids. “We fought to make sure that all workers in our union are given the chance to have the pay and benefits that ensure we can support our families. We won gains for all members, but we remained unified that everyone should have the basic dignity of fair pay for their hard work. In an area as wealthy as the Twin Cities, as we protect some of the most affluent businesses in the world, all working people should be able to provide for their families. This contract is a huge step in the right direction and we are now ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with janitors and other workers in their fight.”

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Twin Cities Janitors To Strike Wednesday as Deadline Passes

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.

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“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.

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Local 26 Security Officers have reached a historic Tentative Agreement!

Click here to download the Full Tentative Agreement

Ratification vote will be February 20th, 11am at the union hall.  If you can’t make the vote, absentee ballots are available. The deadline to submit an absentee ballot is 2/19/16 at 12:00pm. 

Absentee Voting is Now Closed. If you still wish to vote, please attend public meeting Saturday Feb 20th at 11:00am. 1620 Central Ave NE #177, Minneapolis

Local 26 security  #7 website PDF hi res

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Twin Cities Security Officers with SEIU Reach Tentative Agreement on Landmark New Contract, Win $15 for All Officers

The contract, covering 2,000 security officers, will see some Twin Cities workers receiving a 50% raise over the four year contract

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Minneapolis, Minn— Twin Cities security officers with SEIU Local 26 reached a tentative agreement for a ground-breaking new contract late Wednesday night. All current officers will achieve a minimum of $15 an hour wage and all future officers will be on a path to do the same. The contract also won more sick days, an improvement in healthcare cost for families and for the first time ever combines the Suburban and Downtown contracts to create more equity. The agreement would give substantial raises over the course of the contract for all of the over 2,000 security officers who protect buildings around the Twin Cities that house some of the most prominent and wealthy corporations in the country. Members will vote to ratify the contract in the next few weeks. The agreement comes as the janitors with SEIU Local 26 have voted to authorize a strike if a fair contract is not reached for the 4,000 janitors represented by the union.

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James Matias, a security officer and SEIU Local 26 Executive Board member from St. Paul who was on the bargaining committee, saw firsthand how officers in the union stood together to win this pioneering contract.

“Security officers in the Twin Cities fought hard for this contract, and are proud that we have won such an impressive victory for thousands of working families. Some security officers are currently at $10 an hour, so a jump to $15 by the end of the contract will result in a 50% pay increase, which will be a huge change,” said Matias, who lives in St. Paul with his wife and kids. “We fought to make sure that all workers in our union are given the chance to have the pay and benefits that ensure we can support our families. We won gains for all members, but we remained unified that everyone should have the basic dignity of fair pay for their hard work. In an area as wealthy as the Twin Cities, as we protect some of the most affluent businesses in the world, all working people should be able to provide for their families. This contract is a huge step in the right direction and we are now ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with janitors and other workers in their fight.”

The agreement comes just over a week from the strike deadline set by Twin Cities janitors who are also represented by SEIU Local 26. Unlike security officers, employers on the janitorial side have stalled, delayed and intimidated workers fighting for a fair agreement, which lead to the January 23rd unfair labor practice (ULP) strike authorization vote. The janitorial bargaining committee set a Feb 14th strike deadline for a fair contract. If there is not a fair contract by that date, the committee could call an ULP strike at any point.

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SEIU Local 26 is Minnesota’s Property Services Union, uniting more than 6,000 janitors, security officers, and window cleaners in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. SEIU unites more than 225,000 property services workers nationally, and over 2 million including workers in healthcare and the public sector.

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As Strike Deadline Looms, New Report Highlights Unsafe Workloads and Rising Productivity Demands Facing Twin Cities Janitors

The report, titled ‘Back Breaking Profits,’ highlights how decades of sub-contracting has caused the current situation that contributed to janitors voting to authorize strike

Minneapolis, Minn— Just weeks after Twin Cities janitors voted unanimously to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike, and the committee set a Feb. 14th deadline for the 4,000 janitors across the Metro to get a fair contract from their employers, a new report titled Back Breaking Profits is shining a light on one of the major issues highlighted by janitors who voted to authorize a strike. The new report lays clear how in the Twin Cities, as in the rest of the United States, the janitorial industry has undergone massive subcontracting in the last three decades, and the harm that has meant for workers, families and our communities.

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From the report:

In the last decade, janitorial services contractors have reduced the number of janitors, forcing the remaining workforce to cover more territory, leading to injuries and high stress for workers. The work is labor intensive, and fast-paced, demanding heavy lifting, repetitive motions, bending and crouching in unnatural positions. Building cleaning and maintenance occupations had the highest rate of days-away-from-work due to on-the-job injury or illness in Minnesota during 2014, nearly three times the average of all private sector occupations.

The cleaning industry is in crisis and janitors are facing the worst of it. Service Employees International Union Local 26 janitorial members have experienced drastic increases in workload; many say the changes began more than 30 years ago, when building owners started contracting out cleaning services rather than employing those workers directly.

The report includes personal testimonies from Twin Cities janitors who are members of the SEIU Local 26 and would be part of a strike if the contract hasn’t been reached by the Feb 14th deadline. Jessica Hansen has been a janitor since 1977, when a majority of workers like her were white, and has seen the changes as her job has gone from being considered a “good job,” with fair pay, free healthcare, pensions and more, to the current challenges facing workers. Currently over 90% of janitors in the Twin Cities with SEIU Local 26 are people of color. On average, janitors clean the equivalent per square feet of more than 20 houses every night, while some clean much more than that.

In the report, janitors like Elia, who cleans the Ameriprise tower in Minneapolis, share the real world implications of the rising workloads facing janitors and their families. Her testimony includes sharing that “four people got injured at the building I clean between April to December, and I was one of them. Because of my injury, I had to be on light duty for weeks, but the worst part is I’m in so much pain, I can’t play with my children,” she stated. There are countless stories like Elia’s, including many shared in the report, that highlight why increasing workload is such a major issue for janitors, and all working people, across Minnesota.

The report highlights steps being proposed by the janitor’s in negotiations to address this crisis, including:

  • Worker-centered enforcement of safety rules.  Walkthroughs and information for janitors to resolve issues at worksite where they know best. Janitors are experts in their field, they know what works, what doesn’t, what can be accomplished safely and when they’re being pushed to their limits. Workload walkthroughs with janitor, union steward and supervisor are a necessary tool to resolve issues at worksite.
  • Sustainable staffing levels. Establishing reasonable staffing levels, such as 40,000 square feet per night and 225 bathroom units, would ensure manageable workloads and prevent on-the-job injuries.
  • Data driven analysis of how to improve. Fielding an academic study from the University of Minnesota to evaluate ergonomic best practices and asses the effects of workload on janitors

Read the whole report HERE. Workers from the report and the report’s main author are available for comment.

Background: On January 23rd, janitors with SEIU Local 26 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. If a contract agreement is not reached by Feb. 14th, the committee could call a strike at any point going forward. Janitors have been negotiating since October with their employers. Their current three-year contract expired on Dec. 31st.

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SEIU Local 26 is Minnesota’s Property Services Union, uniting more than 6,000 janitors, security officers, and window cleaners in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. SEIU unites more than 225,000 property services workers nationally, and over 2 million including workers in healthcare and the public sector.

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Los empleados de la limpieza autorizan a ir a huelga, ya que los empleadores continúan entorpeciendo las negociaciones del Contrato Colectivo de Condiciones de Trabajo

Junto a los aliados de la comunidad, incluyendo a la Vicegobernadora Tina Smith, los empleados de la limpieza continúan dirigiendo la campaña para la lucha ‘recuperar nuestros sueños’ y ganar un contrato que ayude a mejorar las desigualdades raciales y económicas.

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Minneapolis, MN — Los trabajadores de la limpieza de SEIU Local 26 votaron hoy para autorizar a su Comité de Negociaciones para que hagan el llamado a la huelga por las prácticas laborales injustas, ya que los empleadores continúan entorpeciendo la negociación e intimidando a los trabajadores durante la negociación por el nuevo Contrato para 4,000 trabajadores de la limpieza de las Ciudades Gemelas.  Los trabajadores han venido luchando para ganar el salario mínimo de $15.00 dólares la hora, para solucionar la crisis por el aumento del volumen (carga) de trabajo, así como por normas para que apoyar a las familias para que estén saludables. En respuesta ellos sólo han visto el entorpecimiento de los empleadores.  El Comité de Negociaciones anunció que el 14 de febrero es la fecha límite para acordar un Contrato justo  para que las familias gocen de salud, para fortalecer la comunidad y para solucionar la desigualdad en los ingresos y la desigualdad racial que afecta a nuestro estado. Si para el 14 de febrero no se ha llegado al acuerdo para el Contrato, de esa fecha en adelante, en cualquier momento el Comité de Negociaciones podría hacer un llamado para ir a la huelga.
Adriana Espinosa, miembro de la  Local 26 y empleada de la limpieza de ABM contratada para limpiar el Instituto de Artes de Minneapolis (the Arts Institute), recalcó por qué votó “si” para dar su autorización para ir a la huelga por las prácticas laborales injustas y por el salario mínimo de $15.00 que los empleados de la limpieza han propuesto ya que esto ayudaría a familias como la suya y traería cambios positivos ya que nuestro estado está enfrentando una desigualdad racial y económica terrible.
“Yo voté para autorizar la huelga por las prácticas laborarles injustas porque yo trabajo con jornada de medio tiempo y gano $13.16 la hora, pero muchos de mis compañeros y compañeras de trabajo apenas ganan $11.00 la hora.  Nosotros trabajamos increíblemente duro, y un salario mínimo de $15.00 la hora significaría mas estabilidad para mi familia y nos permitiría vivir en vez de sólo tratar de poder sobrevivir. Sabemos que si los salarios de todos los trabajadores de la limpieza suben a $15.00 la hora, esto resultaría en que cada año miles de millones de dólares ingresarían a las comunidades de todas las áreas de las Ciudades Gemelas. Los empleados de la limpieza de la Local 26 en su mayoría son personas de color, lo que quiere decir que si hay aumentos justos para los empleado de la limpieza, esos ingresos regresarían a las áreas que por largo tiempo se han quedado atrás económicamente y ayudarían a que la economía suba para todos nosotros,” dijo Espinoza. “Cuando la familias ganan lo justo y tienen beneficios decentes, esto ayuda a mejorar a toda la comunidad. Ganar un contrato justo ayudará a todas las familias de la Local 26, pero también podría ayudar a ganar impulso a la vez que luchamos para disminuir la brecha de la desigualdad racial y económica en nuestro estado.”

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Otro problema que los empleados de la limpieza han presentado en la mesa de negociaciones, y que ha sido ignorado y no ha sido reconocido por los empleadores, ha sido el volumen de trabajo que sigue aumentado para los empleados de la limpieza.  Muchos trabajadores de las Ciudades Gemelas limpian un equivalente de más de 20 casas por noche cada día. Elia Starkweather trabaja en la limpieza y es miembro de la Local 26, ella está subcontratada para limpiar el edificio Ameriprise en Minneapolis. Ella ha visto con sus propios ojos el aumento del volumen de trabajo, ha visto que el personal ha disminuido y ella tanto tomo su familia sufren por la presión que sigue aumentado para cumplir con todo el trabajo.
“Yo voté para autorizar la huelga por las prácticas laborales injustas porque nuestros empleadores están poniéndole trabas a las propuestas que les hemos presentado las cuales afectan directamente nuestra salud y nuestra posibilidad de poder disfrutar tiempo con nuestras familias.  Estamos haciendo más y más trabajo por menos y menos, al igual que para muchos que viven en Minnesota, a nosotros se nos pone bajo una presión intensa cada noche. Yo limpio un equivalente de más de 20 casas por noche, y eso hizo que me lesionara y eso me duele pues no puedo jugar con mis hijos cuando salgo de trabajar,” dijo Starkweather. “Esto está pasando en todos lados y no está nada bien. Nosotros trabajamos duro y hacemos un buen trabajo, pero estamos luchando para poder tener un volumen de trabajo razonable que nos permita vivir y no solo para poder tratar de sobrevivir. Si nuestros empleadores no quieren tener una conversación real para componer este problema, vamos a tener que ponernos en huelga.”
Junto al grupo de más de 500 trabajadores de la limpieza hubo otros que apoyaron como la Vicegobernadora Tina Smith, quien compartió con los trabajadores de la limpieza palabras de aliento y los elogió por su voto para ira a la huelga y por dirigir la lucha para ayudar a movilizar para que nuestro estado camine en una dirección más justa y más equitativa. “El Gobernador y yo apoyamos su lucha porque sabemos que a veces tenemos que luchar para que se nos trate justamente,” dijo la Vicegobernadora Smith, al dirigirse a los empleados de la limpieza antes del voto para autorizar al Comité de Negociaciones para ir a la huelga por las prácticas laborales injustas.
Los trabajadores de la limpieza han estado negociando con sus empleadores desde octubre y su Contrato Colectivo de Condiciones de Trabajo venció el 31 de diciembre.
Los medios de comunicación cubrieron el evento

Star Tribune – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike if no pact reached by Feb. 14

Workday Minnesota – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike

Pioneer Press – Twin Cities janitors’ union votes to authorize strike if contract isn’t reached soon

Kare 11 – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike vote

CBS – Local SEIU Votes To Strike If Contract Isn’t Reached By Feb. 14

 AP – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike if no contract reached

 

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SEIU Local 26 es el Sindicato de Trabajadores de Servicios a las Propiedades conocido en inglés como Minnesota’s Property Services Union, agrupa a más de 6,000 trabajadores de la limpieza, de la seguridad y a los trabajadores de la limpieza de ventanas en el área metropolitana de las Ciudades Gemelas. SEIU agrupa a nivel nacional a más de 225,000 trabajadores de los servicios incluyendo a más de dos millones de trabajadores de la salud y del sector público.

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Janitors Authorize Strike as Employers Continue to Stall in Contract Negotiations

EN ESPANOL
Joined by community supporters, including Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, janitors continue to lead fight to ‘Reclaim Your Dreams’ and win contract that helps improve racial and economic disparities

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Minneapolis, MN — Janitors with SEIU Local 26 voted today 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. If a contract agreement is not reached by Feb. 14th, the committee could call a strike at any point going forward.

Adriana Espinosa, a Local 26 member and janitor employed by ABM to clean the Arts Institute, highlighted why she voted “yes” to authorizing an unfair labor practice strike and how a $15 floor being proposed by janitors would help families like hers and bring positive change as our state is facing harrowing racial and economic disparities.

“I voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike because I am part time, and make $13.16 per hour, and many of my co-workers make as little as $11 per hour. We work incredibly hard, and a $15 minimum wage would mean more stability for my family and would allow us to live, not just survive. We found that raising wages to $15 for all janitors would lead to tens of millions of dollars each year being pumped into communities across the Twin Cities. Janitors with Local 26 are overwhelmingly people of color, which means fair raises for janitors would be going back into areas that have been left behind by our economy for far too long and help boost our economy for all of us,” said Espinosa. “When families have fair pay and decent benefits, it helps to improve our whole community. Winning a fair contract will help the families of Local 26 members, but can also help gain momentum as we fight to close the racial and economic disparities in our state.”

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Another issue that has been brought to the bargaining table by janitors, and ignored or dismissed by employers, was the growing workload facing janitors. Many janitors in the Twin Cities clean the equivalent of more than 20 homes per night, every single day. Elia Starkweather is a janitor and Local 26 member who is sub-contracted to clean the Ameriprise tower in Minneapolis. She has seen the increased workload firsthand, watching staff levels drop and finding herself and her family suffering from the growing pressure.

“I voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike because our employers are stalling around proposals brought forward that deal directly with our health and our ability to enjoy time with our families. We are doing more and more with less and less, like so many Minnesotans, which puts intense pressure us each and every night. I clean the equivalent of over 20 houses per night, and that has led to me getting hurt and hurts with my ability to play with my children when I get off work,” said Starkweather. “This is happening all over, and it isn’t right. We work hard, and do good work, but we are fighting so that we can have reasonable workloads that allow us to live, not just survive. If our employers won’t have a real conversation about fixing this, we will have to strike.”

Joining the crowd of over 500 janitors and supporters was Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who shared her encouragement with janitors and commended the workers voting to strike for leading the fight to help move our state in a more fair and equal direction. “The Governor and I support your fight because we know that sometimes you have to fight in order to be treated fairly,” said Smith in her speech to the crowd before janitors voted to authorize their ULP strike.

Janitors have been negotiating since October with their employers. Their current three-year contract expired on Dec. 31st.

Media coverage of the event

Star Tribune – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike if no pact reached by Feb. 14

Workday Minnesota – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike

Pioneer Press – Twin Cities janitors’ union votes to authorize strike if contract isn’t reached soon

Kare 11 – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike vote

CBS – Local SEIU Votes To Strike If Contract Isn’t Reached By Feb. 14

 AP – Twin Cities janitors authorize strike if no contract reached

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SEIU Local 26 is Minnesota’s Property Services Union, uniting more than 6,000 janitors, security officers, and window cleaners in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. SEIU unites more than 225,000 property services workers nationally, and over 2 million including workers in healthcare and the public sector.

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Local 26 Members Vote on Demands, Kick-off Contract Campaign with Workers’ Rights March in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN —Hundreds of people marched down Central Ave after SEIU Local 26 security officers and janitors voted on their contract demands to open contract negotiations that will impact over 6,000 workers throughout the Twin Cities. Joining the SEIU Local 26 members were members of MN350, 15NOW, CTUL, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Minnesotans for a Fair Economy and others in a march that called for big corporations like U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo to support workers’ rights both through contract fights and in support of the #MPLSWorks policies currently being debated in Minneapolis that call for fair scheduling, paid sick time and an end to wage theft to help address the racial and economic disparities in our city and state.

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One of the people at the contract vote and march was SEIU Local 26 member Kevin Chavis, a security officer for Allied Barton in Minneapolis.

“Hundreds of SEIU members came together and voted to fight for things like paid sick time to be able to take care of ourselves and our families in our coming contract negotiations. We work at some of the biggest, wealthiest buildings in the Twin Cities, yet we don’t get adequate paid time off or the wages that we deserve,” said Chavis, who lives in Minneapolis. “It is exciting that other campaigns, including the #MPLSWorks campaign fighting for things like fair schedules, paid sick time and a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis to address our awful racial disparities, are marching today so that the voices of working people in our community are heard loud and clear.”

Elia Starkweather, a SEIU Local 26 member who cleans the CSC Ameriprise building in Minneapolis, said that she was excited to see so many people coming together to fight for things like paid sick time for working families in the Twin Cities because she knows how hard it is for individual workers to raise their concerns to their bosses.

“It isn’t right that we work hard, year after year, making sure buildings in our communities are safe and clean, yet many of us only have one to three days of paid time off if anyone in our family gets sick,” said Starkweather, who lives in Hopkins with her husband and three children. “There are so many of my co-workers who are scared to speak up, and it makes me angry and sad. We all want a better future for our kids. That is why we are coming together to fight for better conditions and dignity for the 6,000 workers in our Union.”

SEIU Local 26 member and St. Paul security officer James Matias kicked off the huge march, led by children with signs naming their dream jobs, highlighting that many workers are fighting for a better future for their children, by linking together all of the various campaigns that are moving.

“We know there are far too many working people in the Twin Cities who face struggles with low pay, lack of paid sick time and things like erratic schedules. Today we are going to march to a few of the corporations that have a direct impact on not only our work lives, but our health through things like their environmental impact,” said Matias. “Working people are facing a crisis, and rich corporations like U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo need to hear our voices. With our vote to come together and fight, along with this huge march, we are showing that our struggles are connected and that we are truly stronger together.”

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SEIU Local 26 is Minnesota’s Property Services Union, uniting more than 6,000 janitors, security officers, and window cleaners in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. SEIU unites more than 225,000 property services workers nationally, and over 2 million including workers in healthcare and the public sector.

Minneapolis Works is the worker-led coalition of community, labor and faith groups fighting to improve economic and racial equity in Minneapolis

MPLSWorks.org

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