USWW Stands up for Workers Experiencing Rape and Violence on the Job
IN 2015, the PBS Frontline documentary Rape on the Night Shift was released, exposing widespread sexual harassment and rape of nightshift janitors in LA office buildings. As the union began showing the film and creating safe space for janitors to talk about their experiences, it became clear that members of USWW had experienced rape and violence on the job.
The janitors decided that, as part or their 2016, state-wide contract campaign, they would fight for ground-breaking legislation that would protect all janitors from sexual harassment and sexual violence. With the help of California Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez, janitors fought for and passed AB 1978, which requires that all janitorial contractors register with the State and that all janitors and supervisors get annual training to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Passage of the bill was achieved when a number of brave janitors who were victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence held a fast on the grounds of the State House to honor victims and let Governor Brown know they would stop at nothing to win these important protections.
The fight to for safe work places free of sexual harassment and violence continues in 2018 as we work to pass AB 2079, that will help further the work of AB1978. AB 2079 will require certified peer to peer training for janitors on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. It will empower workers to take collective action together to change the culture in the janitorial industry that has for too long turned a blind eye to sexual harassment and violence.