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Minneapolis Janitors Prepare to Strike

Janitors' Supporters Prepare for Civil Disobedience

By Brad Sigal |
February 10, 2010
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Minneapolis, MN - On Saturday, Feb. 6, about 40 people gathered at the Minneapolis Labor Center to train for civil disobedience in support of the janitors of SEIU Local 26. The janitors clean the downtown office buildings of some of the richest banks and corporations in the country, but they have low pay and bad work conditions. Since the janitors' union contract expired on Jan. 8, a strike of the 4000 janitors - mostly Latino and East African immigrants - could begin at any time. The janitors are demanding "good, clean, green jobs" along with full-time work at a decent wage, safe and environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals and day jobs instead of overnight shift. Their employer is refusing to move in negotiations.

The janitors' union is preparing for a strike and is also mobilizing supporters to take action. Civil disobedience is part of that plan. According to SEIU Local 26 janitor Maristella Chimbo, "We are fighting for justice - for good, clean green jobs. We have a lot of support from other unions, from immigrant communities, from religious groups, from students. If the employer won't move at the negotiating table, janitors and our supporters are prepared to take the actions necessary to win our demands."

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