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Custodians Make Good on Strike Threat in Minneapolis

More than 4,000 custodians have walked off the job.

March 6, 2024

More than 4,000 custodians walked off the job this week when Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 failed to reach an agreement with employers, Sahan Journal reports.

As previous reported by CMMOnline, almost 8,000 janitors, security guards, and other airport service workers of SEIU Local 26 in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area announced last week that they were ready to strike if necessary. According to Sahan Journal, two deals have since been successfully negotiated: one with the security guards and another with 500 custodians who service retail stores in the area.

But the largest group of union workers, custodians who clean more than 100 building across Minneapolis, were still poised to strike on Monday, March 4, and made good on that threat when negotiations failed. The three-day strike is scheduled to end Wednesday, March 6.

“We’re here, hopefully all our members understand we have to fight for something we earned,” custodian Alma Bonilla told Sahan Journal on Monday. Bonilla was among more than 50 workers who hit the picket line in near-freezing weather.

The workers are seeking raises of US$5 per hour to their current wages of $18.62 per hour. Bonilla told Sahan Journal that last Friday’s bargaining session ended with a raise offer of roughly $2.80.

According to Brahim Kone, SEIU Local 26 secretary-treasurer, a new bargaining session is scheduled for Friday, March 8. “This [strike] is not something that we want to do; it’s cold out here,” Kone told Sahan Journal. “But we are ready and determined. We want to get a settlement and a fair contract for these workers.”

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