SEIU USWW Janitors Celebrate Win, Stress Contract Only Beginning of Wider Campaign to Fight Against Sexual Assault & Harassment of Immigrant Women
LOS ANGELES — SEIU United Service Workers West janitors in the Bay area, Orange County, and Los Angeles approved tonight a new contract covering wages and protocols against sexual harassment and assault. The ratification of the contract averts a strike against unfair labor practices that janitors were ready to trigger had there been no agreement reached with ABM, ABLE, DMS, and other janitorial contracting companies.
Given that 52 percent of contracted janitors live 200% below the federal poverty level, the raises janitors secured on their new contract will make a dramatic difference for thousands of families struggling to make ends meet across the state.
Janitors were also able to secure protocols to report and get help on cases of sexual harassment and are vowing to continue their fight to combat sexual assault. Janitors are supporting AB 1978, a piece of legislation that seeks to expand protections of women janitors on the job. Immigrant women make up the largest portion of the total population of janitors that SEIU USWW represents, who are often the targets of sexual assault and harassment.
“It’s a good day for the hard-working janitors who mop, clean and take out the trash in the buildings of California’s most successful businesses and tech companies,” said David Huerta, President of SEIU USWW. “But today’s victory is only the beginning. Immigrant women janitors often work long night shifts, alone in large buildings and are vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault. We will not rest until we stop the violence against women janitors.”