Janitors in the Twin Cities held a great convention on Saturday, December 5th, kicking off their campaign to make green cleaning a reality by reducing waste, saving energy, and reducing the use of toxic chemicals. SEIU Local 26 janitors and community activists held a mid-day rally and march in downtown Minneapolis, where they were joined by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Rep. Keith Ellison.
How are Local 26 janitors planning on helping to green the economy? By striving to increase the use of green cleaning products with safer chemicals, recycle more trash, and support the transition to day-shift cleaning that can reduce energy use and reduce the carbon footprint of hundreds of buildings in their region. As Local 26's website points out:
Day-shift cleaning is a growing trend in the cleaning industry; it can reduce energy use by up to 8%, and leads to better client satisfaction with a stable, well-trained cleaning staff. And while safer, "green" chemicals are now available at little or no additional cost, there is still pervasive use of more dangerous, conventional cleaning products. In a recent member survey conducted by SEIU Local 26, over one-third of janitors reported chemicals sometimes or often irritating their eyes or skin.
Local 26 janitors' campaign has gained the support of environmental organizations including the Blue Green Alliance, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and the Sierra Club. To read more about green cleaning, visit SEIU's website here. Learn more about Local 26 janitors' green cleaning campaign by watching their new YouTube video here:
The current contract for janitors who clean the majority of buildings in the seven-country metropolitan MN area expires on December 31. The union is gearing up to bargain a new contract with all major janitorial contractors in the market.