San Francisco janitors hold vigil for fellow member victim of COVID-19, call for essential worker protections

09/04/2020

“We are essential, not expendable”

Hundreds of janitors, members of SEIU Local 87, took to the streets of downtown San Francisco to mourn for fellow member Alvaro Ruiz, who died of COVID-19, and demand fair pay and access to healthcare as they negotiate a new union contract with cleaning contractors and the owners who hire them.

“We are essential, not expendable,” said San Francisco janitor Ramiro Rodriguez. “For the past six months we’ve risked our health to keep our country as clean & safe as possible. But who is looking out for us? We are losing our coworkers to this virus. People are dying. We need PPE. We need job protections. Companies and Senate Republicans should be for us, not against us. We need a fair contract and the Heroes Act now.”

Along with a recent vigil in Minneapolis and the Local 221 vigil in honor of Ronda Felder, this action was part of the National Week of Prayer for Essential Workers. Throughout the week, working people, allies and supporters across the country prayed and held vigils in hopes that Senate Republicans pass the HEROES Act and ensure proper personal protective equipment, hazard pay and job protections for essential workers. 

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