Over 200 local janitors, fast food workers and community advocates marched Thursday through downtown Oakland, calling for passage of the recently-announced $15 minimum wage proposal and for continued action to make changes to a janitorial industry that operates unchecked.
According to union workers in the industry, workers of color, immigrants and women are often vulnerable to economic exploitation and harassment on the job with little to no hope of getting legal compensation.
The announcement of an agreement on a $15 an hour minimum wage floor comes at a time when janitors are in renewal contract talks with janitorial companies throughout California that touch on wages and working conditions.
The march was part of a statewide day of action in which thousands of workers rallied to support the new minimum wage. Thursday, March 31 was also California’s César Chávez Day.
Recently, janitors have been calling attention to the economic exploitation and widespread sexual assault of immigrant women janitors in the industry. A recent study released by UC Berkeley found that 52 percent of contracted janitors live 200 percent below the federal poverty level in California.
Janitors are calling for the state legislator to not only approve the new minimum wage measure but to also support strong employee protections at the workplace.