Janitors March in Several California Cities to Demand ‘New Deal'

Janitors rallied in San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Orange County to demand a new deal

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Over a hundred janitors and community members marched the streets of San Diego demanding building owners to adopt a new deal for immigrant workers.

The event marks the start of the contract campaign for 25,000 janitors across California organized with SEIU United Service Workers West. They are using the occasion to lay out a list of human rights standards that they are asking all building owners and property managers in California to adopt.

“For far too long immigrants in this industry have been exploited, have been abused and today janitors from San Diego and all the way to Sacramento are saying enough,” said Christian Ramirez Policy Director for SEIU United Service Workers West.

Janitors also rallied in San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Orange County.

The march passed in front of the Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE) building in downtown. The SEIU United Service Workers West said CBRE plays an important role in setting standards for safety and human rights in buildings across California. But argue the company still uses janitorial contractors who mistreat their workers.

Janitors are calling on CBRE, building owners and property management companies to do their part by signing on to the Immigrant New Deal.

The new deal they are asking to sign includes the following:

  • Unions for All- Allow all workers, including contracted workers, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, language, national origin, or immigration status, the right to have a voice on the job and organize a union, free from intimidation and retaliation.
  • Fair Jobs - Provide good, family-sustaining, full-time jobs that pay a living wage and provide affordable family healthcare coverage. 
  • Dignified Retirement - Allow all workers the opportunity to retire with dignity. No person can work forever, and a retired person should not live in fear of losing their home or their health care.   
  • Workplace Free of Rape and Sexual Harassment - End rape, sexual harassment, and exploitation at all of your properties and worksites. Take responsibility when incidents occur do not do business with contractors that have a history of violations. 
  • Workplace Free of Exploitation - Oppose wage theft, human trafficking, xenophobia, racism and all exploitation of working people. Do not contract with companies that repeatedly violate workers’ legal protections. Only use responsible contractors that comply with these standards. 
  • Workplace Free of Fascism -  Provide safe and welcoming workplaces and establish non-collaboration policies with DHS officials by only allowing DHS to access non-public areas of the workplace with a valid signed judicial warrant (to minimize the risk of collateral arrests and mass raids).

Ramirez said he hopes the owners of buildings are willing to sit down with them and negotiate a new contract so that they are able to continue to provide their services.

"We are prepared to march every day, to walk as much as we need to, to knock on every door," Ramirez said. "We are ready to fight for a new contract, Californians deserve it."

NBC 7 reached out to CBRE for comment. They sent the following response:

"CBRE feels strongly about the fair and ethical treatment of everyone, including the workers at contractors we retain to provide services at properties we manage.  We have a Supplier Code of Conduct with strong safeguards of worker rights and have screened approximately 30,000 suppliers to ensure their compliance with our standards. To our knowledge, the Union has not brought any alleged violations by contractors directly to our attention."

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