San Diego Janitors and Supporters March Through Downtown San Diego, and Labor Council Poised to Aid Janitors’ Strike
On Thursday, May 31, 2012, unions representing over two hundred thousand working men and women throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties are expected to pledge their support for San Diego’s United Service Workers West janitors in the event of a strike. A vote to sanction the strike would mean honoring the picket line if building owners and their contractors do not reach an agreement with the janitors’ union by June 2, 2012.
“For the past couple of months, we have negotiated with contractors representing building owners for a contract that includes a modest wage increase and health care for our families,” said María Aldama, member of the Bargaining Committee and janitor for 5 years. “If our employers can afford to give janitors in Los Angeles, Orange County, and in Northern California a raise and are able to provide health care for workers and their families, why can’t they do the same for San Diego janitors?”
For the past eight weeks, janitors have been working hard to negotiate a dignified contract. Unfortunately, contractors and building owners have offered to freeze workers’ wages and cut their health benefits. If building owners are unwilling to meet workers’ demands by June 2, 2012, janitors throughout San Diego will strike.
“The bottom line is janitors work hard, often in the cover of night, for extremely wealthy companies. They deserve the dignity of being able to provide for their families, to take their kids to the doctor when they are sick and to make ends meet,” said Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary/Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. “The companies whose buildings are being cleaned can afford this very modest increase in cost, and it is time they provide it.”
In 2012, 30,000 of USWW’s 40,000 members’ collective bargaining contracts expire, including the 1,800 office, tech and biotech janitors from San Diego and Inland Empire counties which are set to expire on May 31th.
WHAT: Janitor Protest March & Rally; San Diego/Imperial County Labor Council Press Conference pledging not to cross picket line if janitors go on strike.
WHEN: Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 12PM, March & Rally; Labor Unions to sanction potential janitor strike at 12:30PM at Civic Center Plaza.
WHERE: March starts at 8th & ‘B’ Street; Press Conference lead by Lorena Gonzalez and labor unions at 12:30PM at Civic Center Plaza.
While Janitors will continue to negotiate for the rest of this week, workers could be on strike within the next few days! Workers are, of course, upset at the thought of a strike and the uncertainty that comes with it. Losing even just one day of wages could have a dramatic impact on their families. Over the next few days it is critical that we continue to encourage companies to settle a just contract for workers.
Join us as we “pray with our feet”!