Twin Cities janitors, security guards vote to authorize strike

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Members of a union that represents janitors and security officers in the Twin Cities area voted Saturday to authorize a strike, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents more 6,000 janitorial and service employees in the seven-county metro area, who work at companies like Target, Ecolab, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

SEIU Local 26's contract expired Dec. 31.

The vote to authorize the strike doesn't mean a work stoppage is imminent, the Pioneer Press reports.

According a union spokeswoman, the vote sends more of a message that members are telling the bargaining committee, "'At a moment's notice, if we need to strike, we will.'"

The two sides met at the bargaining table last month, but to no avail. At dispute are proposed cuts to full-time positions, wages and health care.

The SEIU has the backing of Gov. Mark Dayton, who told union members at a convention in November to demand better pay.

Janitors with the SEIU previously voted to strike in 2009, but a work stoppage was averted with a contract settlement. About 1,000 security officers went on a one-day strike in the Twin Cities in 2008.

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