Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Local janitors vote to strike if they can't reach a deal with employers

Author:

Twin Cities janitors could strike if a contract deal isn't reached by Feb. 14.

Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26, which represents more than 4,000 janitors, voted Saturday to authorize an "unfair labor practices" strike.

The union says employers continue to "stall and intimidate workers" in bargaining over a new contract, a news release says. Negotiations started back in October and the previous contract expired Dec. 31, 2015.

One of the main things workers are fighting for is a $15 minimum wage, the release says. Currently, some SEIU janitors make as little as $11 an hour.

The union says raising the minimum wage would help address income and racial disparities that plague the state, the release notes.

They are also calling for a fix to a "growing workload crisis" – the union says janitors clean the equivalent of 20 houses per night – and policies to help support healthy families, like increasing the number of paid sick days janitors get.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who attended Saturday's vote, spoke to the crowd of about 500 janitors, telling them their demands are "not unreasonable," KARE 11 reports.

“The governor and I support your fight because we know that sometimes you have to fight in order to be treated fairly,” Smith said, according to the release.

https://twitter.com/tinaflintsmith/status/691013877132201984

With Saturday's vote, union workers agreed they could call a strike "at any point going forward" if an agreement isn't reached by Valentine's Day.

John Nesse, a spokesperson for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Contract Cleaners Association, which is negotiating with the union, told The Associated Press they are hopeful they'll be able to reach an agreement with workers.

Contract negotiations are expected to continue on Friday, reports note.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkaVJ4IHPmc

SEIU Local 26 is the state's property services union and represents more than 6,000 workers, including janitors, security officers and window cleaners, the news release says. The union is also negotiating a new contract for security officers – the next session for that is Feb. 3, Workday Minnesota reports.

But these fights aren't just about getting more money and paid sick time. In a recent story, MinnPost detailed why the janitor contract negotiations "represent an opportunity to confront the continuing rollback of collective bargaining for workers across the state. Read more about that here.

And the Star Tribune has called these contract negotiations a story to watch for in 2016.

Next Up

Justin Jefferson

Vikings-49ers: 5 things you can count on

Sunday's matchup is a pivotal game in the NFC playoff picture.

Gopher Football

Watch: Gophers troll Badgers with 'Jump Around' after Saturday's win

First they took Paul Bunyan's Axe. Then they took their tradition.

Brandon Richart, missing person

Search underway for missing man in Anoka area

Brandon Richart was last seen Nov. 17.

U.S. Bank Stadium

5 teams win first state championships at Prep Bowl

A pair of records fell as the Prep Bowl lived up to the hype.

ashley Carlson

Remains of missing WI mom found in Pine County, MN

Ashley Miller-Carlson was 33 years old.

D'Angelo Russell

D'Lo's late takeover helps Timberwolves win double-OT thriller

Russell caught fire to help the Timberwolves get back to .500.

Gopher Football

Gophers suffocate Badgers, reclaim Paul Bunyan's Axe

Minnesota picked up its first home win over the Badgers since 2003.

Meeker County Sheriff's Office

Boy, 6, run over after falling off trailer in Meeker Co. tree farm accident

He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center with internal injuries.

Target store

Target unveils deals for 2-day 'Cyber Monday' event

The promotion kicks off Sunday, November 28.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.59.30 AM

Edina police warn of recent burglary trend targeting garages and vehicles

The Edina Police Department is increasing patrols in affected neighborhoods in response to the trend.

Related

Local hospital workers voting on possible strike

As many as 3,500 union members are voting today and tomorrow on a strike that would last between two and five days, WCCO reports. Union reps for the SEIU say local hospital workers are facing severe cuts. The workers’ contracts expired at the end of February.