In the midst of an expanding janitors strike in Ohio…
Cincinnati Janitors to Strike in Response to Employer Misconduct, Councilman Seelbach, Pastor O’Neal Urge ABM to Support Good Jobs
October 31, 2013; Cincinnati—Cincinnati janitors announced that they will go on strike today after facing intimidation and harassment from national employer ABM. Columbus janitors have also gone on strike—and today citizens from across the Midwest were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience there—to protest similar alleged violations of Federal law from ABM. Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach, Cincinnati janitors and community leaders including Pastor Rousseau O’Neal called on ABM to stop intimidating workers and to support good jobs for Cincinnati.
“ABM is a multi-billion dollar corporation that should be creating good jobs and supporting Cincinnati, but instead they are holding us back,” says City Councilman Chris Seelbach.
While Cincinnati is home to a large concentration of Fortune 500 companies, the poverty rate is double that of the state and nearly half of all children in the city live in poverty. Cincinnati janitors are calling attention to this rising income inequality and its impact on our communities. Despite cleaning the headquarters of some of the biggest and richest companies in the country, full-time janitors are paid less than $18,000 a year—below the poverty level for a family.
“I work hard to take care of my four kids. But I still struggle just to keep a roof over our heads,” says Shaneka Lynn, janitor at ABM for 8 years. “I’m going on strike because I know it’s what I have to do to stand up for my rights.”
While janitors have been seeking decent wages, affordable health care and full-time hours, they have been met with intimidation from New York City based ABM—a multi-billion dollar national corporation that refuses to support good jobs for Cincinnati. This alleged conduct—prohibited by the National Labor Relations Act—is similar to what janitors are reporting in Columbus, where janitors have been striking and supporters have been arrested in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience.
ABM is under fire across the Midwest for indicating a new business model of part-timing its janitorial workforce, which would drastically cut incomes and force hundreds more Ohio janitors to rely on taxpayer programs to meet basic needs such as healthcare, food, and housing.
SEIU Local 1 unites 50,000 property service workers in the central United States, including janitors and security officers. Together we work to build strength for all working people, on the job and in our communities.