Janitors and Security Officers: Part of Our Community

Jewish Community Action has long been a supporter of worker’s rights and the rights of workers to form and maintain unions.  From our work in Postville with the workers at the meat packing plant, to marching with workers on picket lines, whether they are nurses, teachers, janitors, security workers, hotel and restaurant workers, public employees or others.  JCA is proud of our connection as an ally to unions and workers in Minnesota.  We will support SEIU in its efforts to obtain just contracts in its current and future negotiations.

Janitors and Security Officers: Part of Our Community
A guest post by Steve Payne of SEIU Local 26

If you go to any of the buildings downtown, you’ll see how clean it looks and you’ll also find a person in each building that will help keep you safe. That’s all because of the hard work of members of our community that are invisible, or easy to overlook: janitors who work overnight and security officers. Jewish Community Action has always been proud to work with overlooked members of our community, like immigrants and foreclosed homeowners.

SEIU Local 26 is the janitors and security officers union in the Twin Cities, and they are campaigning to bring the dignified work of janitors and security officers into the light. Many janitors and security officers are also leaders in many communities in the Twin Cities, and are leaders in creating a more just Twin Cities. One of those janitors is Katra Arale.

Three years ago, Katra was part of a campaign to change janitorial jobs from hidden overnight workers by winning day shift cleaning. Thanks to her work and the work of other janitors, many janitors in the Twin Cities now work in the daytime, side by side with those they clean the building for.

Katra was also part of a campaign to help the Somali immigrant community send money home to their family members in Somalia. Banks in the Twin Cities recently stopped allowing Somali immigrants to send money home. You can hear from Katra about her work in our community here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj952fCICc8.

Members of SEIU Local 26 are in contract negotiations with their employers right now. We’ll be working with janitors and security officers to win a just contract. You can follow SEIU Local 26’s campaign at their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/seiu26) or on their website (www.seiu26.org).