Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Janitors authorize strike over contract negotiations

February 1, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS — Janitors for many commercial buildings in the Saint Paul/Minneapolis area have voted to authorize a strike if a fair contract is not reached with cleaning contractors, according to Workday Minnesota.

According to the story, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 authorized the strike against the cleaning companies — which include ABM Janitorial, Harvard and Marsden, among others — on Saturday in response to their claim that cleaning contractors have rejected green cleaning proposals and a shift to day cleaning throughout contract negotiations.

Chico Coleman, a janitor at Securian in Saint Paul, said: "No one ever wants to go on strike, and we''ve worked hard to avoid that, but we are also ready to move forward. We want to make green cleaning the norm in the Twin Cities, and make sure that our jobs are full-time green jobs with good health care for our families."

The workers have been without a contract since January 8, and negotiations — ongoing for the past two months — are scheduled to continue this week, the story stated.

The complaints of the janitors also include reductions in hours and out-of-pocket health insurance costs, the story noted.

Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation President Bill McCarthy said other unions will honor the janitors'' picket line if they strike, the story added.

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