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County Council recognizes “Justice for Janitors”

Summary

Recognition a reminder of the people who help keep offices comfortable and clean

Story

 06_13_janitors_web
Councilmembers and representatives of SEIU Local 6.
The Council proclaimed June 15, 2016 as "Justice for
Janitors Day" in King County to recognize the work of
custodial staffs around the region.


The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized the men and women that most office workers don’t see: the people who come in overnight to clean offices, restrooms and public spaces in buildings throughout King County. The Councilmembers proclaimed June 15, 2016 as “Justice for Janitors” day in King County in acknowledgment of the continuing efforts to improve wages and working conditions for custodial staffs.

“These are some of the ‘invisible people’ in our workplace, performing an indispensable service that mostly goes ignored—until our trash can overflows,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, co-sponsor of the recognition. “This is a recognition that reminds us of the service custodial staff provides, and that these hard working people simply want what every other worker wants, fair wages that will allow them to take care of their families and conditions that will allow them to do their job with dignity.”

“Many are benefiting from Seattle’s booming economy, but we must ensure that this economic growth doesn’t leave thousands behind,” said recognition co-sponsor Council Chair Joe McDermott. “Today is an opportunity for us to thank those who work hard to keep our workplaces and buildings comfortable and clean and pledge our continued support for living wages for all.”

The recognition was presented to representatives of SEIU 6, the union that represents many of the custodial workers in the region.

“Our janitors work very hard and are looking for a living wage to support their families,” said Sergio Salinas, President of SEIU 6. “Janitors are the ‘farmworkers of the city.’ No one thinks about who puts the food on their tables, just like people forget who keeps their offices clean. These men and women want to be fairly compensated for the work they do.”

Justice for Janitors is a national effort, started in Denver three decades ago by custodial workers who voiced concerns about the working conditions that most janitors faced in office buildings in the city. The movement grew throughout the country and included work actions by the unions representing these workers, who were primarily people of color and some undocumented residents.

Justice for Janitors became a national movement when a strike of janitors in Los Angeles in the early 90’s ended in violence, with police being sent in to arrest the strikers.


 

PROCLAMATION

 

WHEREAS, janitors are an essential part of our local business infrastructure, cleaning offices, hospitals, schools, and other commercial buildings, so we can do our jobs the next day; and

WHEREAS, SEIU6 represents over 3,000 janitors in Washington, with the majority in King County; and

WHEREAS, SEIU6 is part of the largest union in the country, representing over two million service workers in North America, with a membership of more than 40% immigrants and close to 50% women; and

WHEREAS, SEIU6 is celebrating its 95th anniversary of supporting its members and working for social justice throughout the region and the world; and

WHEREAS, SEIU6 members are ongoing advocates for family living wages and dignity for all workers in King County; and

WHEREAS, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., after whom our county is named, SEIU6 seeks to create a more just and humane society; and

WHEREAS, Justice for Janitors started as a movement by janitors in the Denver area calling for better working conditions and wages; and

WHEREAS, the goals of Justice for Janitors became a national movement when police assaulted striking janitors in Los Angeles in 1990; and

WHEREAS, June 15th is the 30th anniversary of Justice for Janitors Day;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council and the King County Executive proclaim June 15, 2016, as

JUSTICE FOR JANITORS DAY

in King County and encourage all county residents to recognize the vital role these men and women play in keeping our workplaces and buildings comfortable and clean.

DATED this thirteenth day of June, 2016.

 

Contact the Council
Main phone:
206-477-1000
TTY/TDD:
206-296-1024
Fax:
206-296-0198