SF Janitors Demonstrate, Threaten Strike
Hundreds of janitors and supporters marched through San Francisco's Financial District Wednesday in the midst of a contract dispute between janitors represented by SEIU 87 and several contracting firms.
Union leaders said police arrested roughly two dozen demonstrators after they sat down in an intersection during Wednesday’s action.
The demonstration is the latest in a series organized by the union in response to faltering negotiations over wages and benefits. Their contract expired on July 31.
“San Francisco is a very, very expensive place,” said Mohammed Ishmael, who participated in the demonstration and works for Abel, one of six contracting firms involved in negotiations. “I pay $1,400 just for rent. I make $2,000 a month. And it looks like I have nothing to feed my kid.”
"We are negotiating in good faith, committed to reaching an agreement that is fair for all interested parties, including both our employees and our customers,” said Jim Beard, the lead negotiator for the San Francisco Maintenance Contractors Association, which includes four of the firms. “We firmly believe that we can reach such an agreement."
Talks will resume Thursday morning. Union leadership has authorized a strike if negotiations fail.