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The Year of the Worker: Brian Yarbrough’s Story


Meet the working people who are changing their workplaces and our country.

Cleveland Js Barg Team With Brian Crop

Along with record levels of inequality came an unprecedented and powerful response from working people. Throughout 2019, from nurses and fast food workers to factory workers and school employees, we demanded better working conditions and our right to a voice through a union. We rallied, protested, marched and even went on strike to fight for good jobs and the better futures our families deserve. 

And those actions resulted in big wins. Together, we’re reshaping our country and demanding a fix for the rigged economy. That’s why we’re celebrating 2019 as the year of the worker. Check out some of the top victories working people have won by coming together to demand better this year.

Cleveland Janitors Win Historic Pay Hikes for Their Families, Communities

The Worker: Brian Yarbrough, Janitor (far left)
What He Won: In April, 500 janitors in downtown Cleveland won a historic new union contract—with pay increases up to 25 percent and a path charted for a $15 minimum wage—that’s projected to pump $7.5 million into Cleveland’s working class communities. The janitors’ "One Cleveland" campaign, which called for solutions to racial and economic imbalances throughout the city, was won through dynamic marches, rallies and with a ‘reality trolly tour’ through the city’s communities most affected by low pay. 

“The wages and benefits we won will provide a game-changing boost for our families and Cleveland’s most neglected communities," says Brian Yarbrough, a Janitor who cleans downtown. “I’m so proud of how we came together to win a better future for our city.”