Minneapolis Area Custodians Vote to Authorize Strike
Workers seeking increased sick days and wages
Nearly 8,000 custodians, professional cleaners, security guards, and other workers who service retail stores and office buildings in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota area may walk off the job later this month after members of the union representing them voted this weekend to authorize a strike, WCCO news reports.
The workers, member of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26, voted to begin a seven-day strike if a contract agreement is not reached by February 19, Minnesota Public Radio reports. Union leaders say they have been negotiating seven contracts for nearly three months without making much progress.
Sick time is a key issue, with all workers seeking six sick days a year. Currently, workers in Minneapolis and St. Paul receive six sick days under city ordinances. However, custodians and other workers in the metro area outside the cities only receive three sick days. Union representatives also are seeking safer working conditions, higher hourly wages, and penalties for incorrect paycheck amounts.
Professional cleaners in SEIU Local 26 are employed by building service contractors. An attorney representing the contractors said they are disappointed with the vote as they have been meeting with the union since November. Both sides have scheduled four bargaining sessions within the next two weeks and the contractors are optimistic they can reach an agreement before a strike is called.
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