Janitors Host “Tale of Two Clevelands” Trolley Tour to Showcase Stark Difference Between Redeveloped Downtown & Their Neighborhoods

Janitors highlight how downtown renaissance has left their communities behind                     

CLEVELAND – Today, SEIU Local 1 janitors rallied and launched the Tale of Two Clevelands Tour to highlight how downtown’s boom has left too many neighborhoods behind. The janitors, who are lifelong Cleveland residents, kicked off the tour with a rally at the iconic Old Stone Church in downtown Cleveland. From there, the tour headed toward St. Claire-Superior and the Kinsmanneighborhoods where attendees will be able to see first-hand how the communities many janitors belong to have been neglected during downtown’s redevelopment.

“Downtown is booming again, but our communities have been left behind,” said SEIU Local 1 janitor Brian Yarbrough, who lives on Cleveland’s east side. “No matter our background or where we come from, we all want a better future for our communities. For janitors, that starts with a $15 wage to support our families.”

Janitors play an essential role in keeping Cleveland clean and safe. Their contribution to our city’s renaissance is clear to anyone walking through downtown–Geis Companies, The K&D Group, Bedrock or AmTrust Financial. Our city’s janitors, however, experience another side of Cleveland. In the shadow of our city’s revival, there is another story where mostly minority working poor, their families and their communities are struggling to get by.

Thousands of Local 1 janitors are set to negotiate their union contract which covers much of downtown’s commercial real estate community. Tenants include Key Bank, Sherwin Williams, PNC and the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill. A key fight will be fair pay for janitors which they hope will build the foundation for One Cleveland–a truly prosperous city where everybody thrives. Janitors are hoping city leaders will follow the example of both the Cleveland Orchestra and Cuyahoga Community College, institutions where janitors won a path to $15.

For more information on Cleveland’s stark racial and economic divide, Read the full report at Tale of Two Clevelands.


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