Taking On Human Rights Violations in Retail Cleaning

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Veronica Mendez, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha/Center of Workers United in Struggle, 612-702-2120, veronica@workersinterfaith.org

Danny Postel, Interfaith Worker Justice, 773-728-8400 x24, dpostel@iwj.org

Taking On Human Rights Violations in Retail Cleaning

Minneapolis Group Denounces Wage Theft, Reaches Out to TARGET and Other Retailers

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - On
November 6, cleaning workers and their allies in Minneapolis will lead a March for Justice
in Retail Cleaning
, with stops at Target, SuperValu
and Lunds & Byerly’s, calling on those companies to agree to a code
of conduct guaranteeing fair wages and working conditions for the workers who
clean their stores.

Wages
and working conditions in retail cleaning have plummeted over the last 10 years
as retail giants like Target and SuperValu have subcontracted cleaning out to
other companies, a process that pits dozens of cleaning companies against each
other, each underbidding the other in the mad scramble to win contracts.

“We
are tired of the violations of human rights in our workplaces as we suffer the
results of this process,” said Mario Colloly, a retail cleaning worker at Cub
Foods (a SuperValu chain). “Workers will no longer watch the profits of these
corporate giants soar as our wages and working conditions spiral downward.”

“We’re
calling on Target, SuperValu, and Lunds & Byerly’s to partner with workers
to establish fair wages and working conditions in the cleaning of their
stores,” said Veronica Mendez, an organizer with the Centro
de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha/Center of Workers United in Struggle
, a
worker center in Minneapolisaffiliated with
the national networkInterfaith Worker Justice.

In
April, retail cleaning workers with the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha
sent a letter to Target, SuperValu and Lunds & Byerly’s informing them of
the serious violations
of human rights taking place in retail cleaning
. In that letter and in
other communications, workers and allies requested a meeting with the companies
to discuss ways to end these abuses.

While
Jerry’s Foods, a major franchise owner of Cub Foods, responded with a willingness
to open a dialogue on fair standards, Target, SuperValu and Lunds &
Byerly’s have continued to turn a blind eye to the injustices taking place in
their stores by refusing to meet with workers.

“It’s
time for these companies to live up to their standards of
corporate responsibility
by partnering with the Centro de Trabajadores
Unidos en Lucha to establish a code of conduct guaranteeing fair wages and
working conditions for the workers who clean their stores,” said Colloly.

“No
corporation can escape its responsibility to workers by simply outsourcing
their work to some other company that doesn’t observe the rights of those
workers,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) at a recent press conference about the
issue.

“We
sincerely hope that the companies will live up to their reputations as socially
responsible corporations,” said Rep. Ellison. But if they disappoint us…it will
be time for all of us to step forward.”

“Only
by re-paying workers what they are owed and setting new standards for
contracting can companies find wholeness for themselves and their workers,”
said Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice and the author
of Wage
Theft in America: Why Millions of Working Americans Are Not Getting Paid—And
What We Can Do About It
.

WHAT

 

March for Justice in
Retail Cleaning

 

WHEN

 

Saturday, November 6th,
11:00am – 2:00 pm

 

WHERE

 

Start time and place:
11:00am, Grace Trinity Community Church (1430 W. 28th St.)

March route: Lake Street
from Uptown to Minnehaha, with special stops at Lunds in Uptown (1450 W. Lake
St), SuperValu at Nicollet and Lake, and Target at 26th and Lake

End time and place:
2:00pm, Holy Trinity Church, 2730 E. 31st St. Rally.

###

Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) calls upon our religious values in order to educate, organize, and mobilize the religious community in the U.S. on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers.

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