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Months of bargaining erupted into a series of rolling strikes by Local 1877 janitors on June 17th, after contract negotiations with building owners and maintenance contractors reached impasse. Citing threats and harrassment from employers, the janitors voted last week to stop work in buildings belonging to recalcitrant owners.

On June 17th, the strike became a reality, with picketing, chanting, drumming, and marching at office buildings throughout the city that lasted until almost midnight and included a blockade of the intersection at 7th and L Streets. The janitors were joined by both state and local politicians and by labor activists from many other unions in this historical first strike by Sacramento janitors of Local 1877. The janitors have been innovative, spirited, and relentless throughout this campaign: "We (in other unions) have learned so much from you-- We can't thank you enough!" --Jim Hard, Director, Civil Service Division, Local 1000


  Local 1877 met at 4 pm in front of 1201 K. This high rise's owner is part of the owner/building maintenance group that refuses to agree to a contract providing living wages and health care insurance for janitors' families.



Working hard and earning only $7/hour makes people unhappy. Janitors clean 40,000 to 45,000 square feet of office space every night yet make less than $15,000/year in Sacramento.

What is Local 1877 proposing? The janitors want a gradual transition to full family health coverage by the end of the contract. They propose a gradual transition over the next few years to $9/hour (similar to janitors in other major cities).

What would it cost building owners to provide this? Janitorial costs are calculated on a square footage basis. Currently, janitors' wages and benefits cost the employer $0.03 per square foot per month. Under the union's proposal, this amount would increase to $0.05 per square foot per month over the course of several years. This is less than a penny per square foot increase per year.

To put this in perspective, rental rates for prime commercial office space in Sacramento range from $1.20 to $2.50 per square foot per month. Increasing the per square foot cost by less than a penny will not bring on financial ruin.



  Marching in front of the Building at 1201 K.


  The purpose of a strike picket is to get the attention of building tenants, building owners/maintenance contractors, and of passers-by. To do this, it helps to be loud, in which Local 1877's Ernesto Guerrero excels.


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