Target janitors threaten strike

The non-unionized workers threaten a walkout over reported illegal working conditions

By Natasha Lennard

Published February 22, 2013 5:34PM (EST)

   (Shutterstock/R. Gino Santa Maria)
(Shutterstock/R. Gino Santa Maria)

Labor reporter Josh Eidelson reported in the Nation Friday that janitors who clean Target stores in Minnesota have threatened to strike if employers do not address grave complaints about working conditions by Sunday. The non-unionized workers led by labor group Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) have demanded that contractors meet to discuss the alleged safety and labor law violations. Via Eidelson:

The workers are employed by three janitorial contractors–Prestige Maintenance USA, Diversified Maintenance Systems, and Carlson Building Maintenance–and work inside Target facilities in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The strike threat follows a series of OSHA charges alleging that employees of those companies were denied proper safety training and locked inside of Target stores, and National Labor Relations Board charges alleging that they were retaliated against for organizing.

CTUL’s deadline is the same day as the strike deadline set by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members who clean commercial offices in the Twin Cities, including Target’s headquarters. CTUL and SEIU have been collaborating in recent months and hope to eventually win formal union recognition and collective bargaining for CTUL members (the workers would become members of SEIU, while remaining members of CTUL, one of the country’s hundreds of alternative labor groups).

As noted here previously, recent months have seen an unprecedented uptick in labor actions in the retail and service sector. Wal-Mart last year faced a string of strikes throughout its supply chain, while New York-based workers at fast food restaurants including McDonald's, Burger King and KFC staged a rare one-day walkout.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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