Striking Workers Paralyze Mpls Rush Hour Traffic

Minneapolis, MN – Hundreds of striking janitors, staffers, union members, and community members occupied busy intersections in downtown Minneapolis bringing morning rush-hour traffic to a standstill.

CTUL or Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (The Center of Workers United in Struggle) and SEIU 26 organized the morning action demanding fair wages and an end to wage-theft. Starting with a picket-line and rally at Macy’s at 5:30 a.m. the crowd took the streets around 7:15 a.m.

Unicorn Riot was covering the event LIVE as well as live-tweeting:

Union janitors taking the task of walking off the job was voted forward on January 23rd, and Wednesday night the SEIU Local 26 union started the 24-hour strike with pickets around the metro area of the Twin Cities, including downtown Minneapolis and the MSP-Airport.

The strike evolved Thursday morning when non-union workers organized by CTUL were joined by others, participating in actions that included picket lines, rallying, marching, occupying intersections for lengthy periods of time. Eventually, the crowd took space inside the US Bancorp building demanding to speak with US Bank CEO Richard Davis.

Although traffic was stalled for over an hour in certain locations, no protesters or strikers were arrested.

Here is the FULL Livestream of the mornings actions:

The movement for fair wages has been gaining traction in recent years with workers rights activists organizing a nationwide Fight for $15 campaign. That focus of fair wages was not lost in during this mornings actions. Wage violations are a common thing for workers to grapple with, especially in the janitorial line of service.

This last Tuesday, the 16th, CTUL announced that a class-action lawsuit for numerous wage violations against janitorial contractor Capital Building Services Group resulted into a $425,000 settlement to go to nonunion janitors who clean Herberger’s and Macy’s stores in the Twin Cities area. This lawsuit included complaints of wages as low as $4-5 an hour and no overtime pay, among others. From this settlement, the workers will receive the back pay they are owed.

In more horrific janitorial worker realities, lawsuits have alleged that supervisors have been forced to work 35 hours per week off the clock. There have also been many settlements and investigations into Diversified Maintenance Systems, cleaner of Sears and Kmart stores.

If further developments occur around this strike, Unicorn Riot will update.

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