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Minneapolis high rise window cleaners’ strike continues

By staff |
August 22, 2021
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Striking skyscraper window clears on the picket line.
Striking skyscraper window clears on the picket line. (Photo by Brad Sigal)

Minneapolis, MN - On August 20, the strike continued for around 50 SEIU Local 26 union members who clean the majority of the tall buildings in downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Through their first five days of the strike the window cleaners picketed in locations all around downtown Minneapolis. They also held multiple larger events for members of other unions and the community to show their support for the workers and their strike over wages and safety.

Window cleaning is primarily done during the five-day work week, so the actions and picketing take place on those days. Their next planned action is at 6 a.m. Monday, August 23 at the Minneapolis/Saint Paul airport, where the companies have multiple contracts they clean. The window cleaners say they will not back down until they get a contract that values their work. Bargaining sessions are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday this week and the strike will continue unless management comes to the table with revised proposals that the window cleaners decide they can accept.

Eric Crone is a window cleaner with Columbia Building Services as well as a union steward and executive board member of SEIU Local 26. He states, “We’re striking because we’ve been fighting for years to improve our industry. We’re done with delays and we won’t back down. If you ask someone on the street how much someone who is up on the buildings gets paid or what level of training they think we get, they always guess higher than what we currently get. It feels like we have been disrespected. We kept going to work even after our original contract expired in 2020, but now they can’t be bothered to bargain with us in a fair way.”

Crone went on to say “The employers came to the table and we made a small amount of progress on small matters. We gave a proposal on the larger matters, and now we are waiting for a response from them that shows they value our work. We haven’t found anything they are offering worth stopping our strike so we’re back on the picket line Monday morning.”

As this story continues to develop, Fight Back! will provide additional coverage.

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