As essential workers around the world continue taking huge health risks to keep our economies going through the pandemic, UNI Global Union is launching today the campaign #RespectProtectPayUs to commemorate International Justice Day and demand fair pay, healthcare, safe working conditions, job protections, respect and access to good union jobs for cleaners and security guards.
“We all know that without cleaners, security officers, and building maintenance workers everything falls apart,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “This workforce is key to our economy and essential for our recovery.
The campaign is calling to make COVID-19 an occupational disease so workers can also be protected from the social and economic effects of the pandemic.
On June 15, 1990, a peaceful Justice for Janitors march and protest in downtown Los Angeles’ turned into something more powerful. When workers linked arms to cross a street, police officers confronted these men and women, beating them with batons and injuring dozens of marchers.
This dramatic moment only strengthened the resolve of the janitors, galvanizing public support and spurring a movement that forced multinational companies to recognize the janitors’ right to have a union contract that provided workers a living raise with health insurance and guaranteed benefits.
As we celebrate this victory over 3 decades later, we are proud of the many victories won by cleaners, security workers, and others who dedicated their lives to make service jobs better for all. We also want to redouble our commitment to fight for working people and communities of colour, who just like the L.A. janitors in 1990, continue to suffer the consequences of institutionalized racism in their workplaces and on the streets.