Teachers, Janitors, $15 Hour Minimum Wage Supporters Protest Across Twin Cities

Last November, protesters marching for workers’ rights shut down traffic in downtown Minneapolis. People aligned with Black Lives Matter joined janitors, airport workers and fast food and retail employees, all demanding a $15/hour minimum wage, paid sick leave and fair scheduling, along with “dignity at work,” marched down Hennepin and Nicollet Avenues.

Thursday, February 18, 2016, protesters plan to march on Nicollet again:

They will be joined by AFL-CIO supported Minneapolis retail janitors after the janitors conduct their own demonstration from 5:30am-7:00am:
ctlu janitors strike

These are only two of many demonstrations planned for Feb. 17-18th.  From MPR News:

Thousands of unionized Twin Cities janitors are expected to participate in a 24-hour strike Wednesday over wages and paid sick time.

Two dozen people began with a picket outside Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this afternoon. More demonstrations are scheduled for later in the day in downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul and at the headquarters of Medtronic, Best Buy and UnitedHealth Group.

About 4,000 janitors represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 could participate in the labor action that was approved late last month.

They work for companies including ABM Janitorial Services, Marsden Bldg Maintenance and Harvard Maintenance that have contracts to clean about 200 buildings in the Twin Cities.

The union contract with the companies ended on Dec. 31. The union and a representative of the companies have been in negotiations over the new contract since late last year. 

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In St. Paul, the St. Paul Public Schools teachers’ union (The St. Paul Federation of Teachers) held a “Walk- In” today:  parents, educators, community leaders and students “going to school” together, with visible, public support for neighborhood public schools that serve all children well.  Claiming that the Walk-Ins were about more than the current teacher contract negotiations (see Alpha News report from December 2015),  SPFT President Denise Rodriguez described the union’s goals, which include ending the “school-to-prison pipeline,” Restorative Practices, adequate staff (more counselors, social workers, etc.), ending the racial disparities and suspensions and Pre-K for all district four year old children:

(Video from StPaulUnions)

Stay updated: follow Alpha News for continuing coverage of the upcoming protests and demonstrations.

Andrea Mayer-Bruestle