SEIU Local 26 announced today that 4,000 commercial janitors will begin their ULP strike starting the second shift on Thursday, February 27th.
The commercial janitors are part of the 8,000 members of SEIU Local 26 who are subcontracted to clean and protect buildings in the Twin Cities. The janitorial workers are employed by over a dozen different subcontractors like ABM & Marsden to clean corporate buildings like IDS, Capella Tower, EcoLab, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, United Health Group, Ameriprise and many more across the Twin Cities.
“We’re ready to strike Thursday to stand up to our employers who are stalling on reaching a fair deal that ensures our families can live safe, happy and healthy lives. We’ve been pushing for four months for fair wages, paid sick days and a green training program that will help both us as janitors and address climate change that is harming our whole planet, but all they say is ‘no’,” said Elsa Guaman, a janitor with SEIU Local 26 contracted to clean the United Health Group headquarters.
SEIU members have been negotiating seven contracts over three months. The group unanimously voted Feb. 8th to authorize a ULP strike to stop the companies’ alleged Unfair Labor Practices. The union argues that the companies have been stalling, refusing to give information and to settle a fair contract.
In lieu of a possible ULP strike, SEIU Local 26 members prepared picket signs and artwork. They were joined by community supporters and members of the St. Paul Federation of Educators
The striking janitors will be joined by the Minnesota Youth Climate Strikers and other environmental allies, including the Sierra Club, MN350, the BIPOC Climate Table and the 100% campaign. These organizations and others are supporting their call for “green jobs” with a rally and march through downtown Minneapolis starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday evening.
Leaders of the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike released a statement in support of Thursday’s action:
“We, as youth, cannot stand to grow up in a world where corporations increasingly gain capital while minorities continue to be punished. Not only are we sick of being dismissed, but so is this beautiful planet. A push towards green training is a benefit for all that is being denied by management and big corporations with the power to combat the oppression that we face daily. We, along with many other environmental allies, will continue to stand in solidarity with our partners in the SEIU Local 26 of commercial janitors.”