The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Veronica Mendez , Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha;

Cleaning Workers at Cub Foods to Announce Hunger Strike

Actions in 20 Cities to Urge Company to Meet with Workers to Establish Fair Conditions


This Friday a group of retail cleaning workers and allies with the in Minneapolis-based Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (Center of Workers United in Struggle) will announce an open-ended Hunger Strike to call on Cub Foods to meet with them to establish fair wages and working conditions for the workers who clean their stores.

On Monday, May 23, groups of workers and their allies in over 20 cities nationwide will deliver letters to Supervalu stores (the parent company of Cub Foods) to send a message to Cub to meet with cleaning workers to establish a code of conduct ensuring fair wages and working conditions.

"Workers across the country are concerned about the extreme deterioration of working conditions in the retail cleaning industry nationwide and want to ensure justice not only for retail cleaning workers in the Twin Cities but to ensure that retail cleaning workers across the country don't continue to see their wages drop and their workloads increase," said Veronica Mendez of the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), an affiliate of the national organization Interfaith Worker Justice.

Over the past 10 years, wages and working conditions in retail cleaning have spiraled out of control. Whereas a decade ago many retail cleaning workers made up to $10 an hour, today most earn roughly $7.50 an hour - with double the workload. This results from the fact that major retail stores have pitted cleaning companies against each other for the lowest possible bid. This trend across the country has led to egregious violations of human rights, resulting in multi-million dollar lawsuits against cleaning companies and even slave labor.

After a year of attempts to reach out to representatives of the retail chain, the only response has been the firing of a worker leader involved in organizing, violent reactions to peaceful protesters, and the banning of CTUL organizers from Cub stores. CTUL has sent numerous letters to representatives of Cub Foods, including petition signatures of nearly 200 retail cleaning workers, organized a number of delegations to store headquarters, protests, marches, and press conferences, and received support from many community, religious and labor organizations who have endorsed the campaign.

Workers and allies will announce their commitment to the open-ended Hunger Strike, which will be based outside of the Cub Foods at Minnehaha and Lake Street in Minneapolis, daily from 8am to 8pm, after the launch of the Strike.

WHAT:Press Conference to announce Hunger Strike

WHEN:Friday, May 20, 11:00 AM

WHERE:In front of Cub Foods at 2850 26th Ave. South in Minneapolis

WHO:CTUL retail cleaning workers, community, faith and labor allies