Janitors in Twin Cities strike for better wages, benefits

Published 7:01 am Saturday, February 29, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS — Janitors who work at Twin Cities commercial buildings are striking as part of a push for higher wages and better benefits in their contracts.

The Star Tribune reports more than 100 janitors walked off the job Thursday and rallied along Nicollet Mall, waving signs and beating drums outside the skyscrapers they clean each day. They were joined by a separate group of youth climate strikers who marched in solidarity.

The Service Employees International Union, which represents 4,000 janitors who clean Twin Cities commercial buildings, organized the daylong strike before a bargaining session on Friday. Members are also pushing for paid sick days and a program to expand the use of nontoxic cleaning chemicals, among other things.

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Attorney John Nesse, who represents the Cleaners Association in contract negotiations, said the employers are disappointed the union called a strike. He said the association is ready to get back to the bargaining table, with three more sessions scheduled for next week.

Union President Iris Altamirano said the two sides have sat for 13 bargaining sessions so far and still are not close to an agreement.