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Justice For Janitors Doesn't Stop Today


This Justice For Janitors Day workers are taking action from coast to coast to celebrate today and call for the pay, protections and respect that so many still have not won.

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Hi, I'm Luchiana Owens a janitor out of New York City and proud member of SEIU Local 32BJ! Today marks the 33rd anniversary of when striking janitors in Los Angeles launched a peaceful protest to win much-needed workplace improvements for themselves and their families. These janitors were predominantly underpaid immigrant workers who were up against powerful multinational corporations and a business community focused on profits over all else. Though their protest was peaceful, these cleaners and their families were met with aggressive force by the police. Many workers were hurt and some were even hospitalized. These workers lit a spark and were a catalyst for a future movement that we celebrate today, the Justice For Janitors movement, which spread across the country — and the world.

This Justice For Janitors Day, workers, including myself, are taking action from coast to coast to celebrate and call for the pay, protections, and respect that so many have still not won. Over the next two years, more than 120,000 janitors in over 30 cities are getting ready to go to the bargaining table, where we will negotiate and WIN the contracts we know we have earned and more than deserve.

I’ve been a proud union cleaner for over 22 years, and this year, starting today, me and my co-workers are launching our own contract campaign. As we fight to maintain our living wages and quality benefits, we will pay homage to the struggles of the janitors who came before us and fought to establish our standards.

This is a big deal. I’m thankful because I’ve been able to raise four kids, but times are tough, and everything is getting more expensive. We know the upcoming contract fights will be hard. We need our benefits and wages to survive and thrive! I will be out there fighting every step of the way, for the next generation, for my kids, and for everyone who comes after me. I hope you can join me and fight alongside me today.

This is our fight, but we’re fighting for everyone, not just janitors — for all working people, Black, brown, and immigrant workers, for all who can benefit from building worker power and taking action together.

We have to defend the historic victories of the Justice For Janitors movement to hold the line for the entire working class. These working standards have taken decades to build up for janitors and offer important access to the American Dream for Black, brown and immigrant communities.

Luchiana Owens