— Dozens of janitors at Northern California Safeway
supermarkets stopped work Wednesday night in an effort to express their frustrations over contract negotiations now entering their fifth month, according to a press release
According to the release, the janitors claim they are frustrated by what they feel is the unfair intimidation of workers and reduced wages and benefits by contractors.
Leodegario Acevedo, a janitor in Santa Rosa
, said: "I walked out because Safeway''s janitorial contractors are not working with us to negotiate a contract which will remedy unsafe and unhealthy conditions in the stores and help us support and build a life for our families. I am standing up for my rights."
Contract negotiation between the Service Employees International Union
(SEIU), United Service Workers West Local 1877
and four janitorial service contractors serving the Safeway stores have been ongoing, with conflicts arising over work hour requirements for health care benefits and starting wage decreases, as well as what the janitors say is Safeway''s "flat refusal" to incorporate a green cleaning standard to their contract, the release stated.
Negotiations will continue between the union and contractors, the release added.