After months of negotiations, a 24-hour unfair labor practices strike, civil disobedience and solidarity actions by janitors and allies across the country, 4,000 janitors united in SEIU Local 26 in Minnesota have won their largest wage increases in decades.
The majority of janitors surpassed $15, in addition to each member winning additional sick days, improved healthcare, and a plan to reduce heavy workloads.
"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," said Brahim Kone, a janitor from St. Paul. "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, elaborate, “Winning new policies about workload and a plan to do a 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.
“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. Now we have an avenue to fix this crisis.”
Read more about what janitors in the Twin Cities won.