About 200 retail cleaning workers and supporters with CTUL (Centro de Trabajadores en Lucha – Center for Workers United in the Struggle) picketed outside the Kmart on Lake St in Minneapolis to protest the pay practices of Diversified Maintenance Systems. Saturday’s action is part of an ongoing struggle, which began two years ago, for improved wages and working conditions for workers at Diversified Maintenance Systems.
CTUL’s 2-year campaign has produced some results, wage increases and improved working conditions but much remains to be done. While many area janitors make $13.42 an hour, workers at Diversified make around $8 an hour
In August, 2012, seventeen Twin Cities workers filed complaints against Diversified with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding alleged unsafe working conditions including being locked in the store overnight while they worked. OSHA has stated that apparent violations were observed and citations have been issued to the company.
State Senator Jeff Hayden, DFL, Minneapolis said, “Thank you for having the courage to fight because sometimes its hard to think about fighting when your families are suffering.”
Minneapolis Council Member Betsy Hodges said, “If this community is not working for workers of Diversified, then it’s not working for any of us. And if it’s not working for any of us, we are not in a world that we want.”
There have been several suits filed against Diversified for working conditions and pay policies. In the past Diversified has chosen not to face the charges in court but settled the case before it went to court.