Minimum-Wage Janitors Fight For Increase And Justice

Janitors and their labor and community allies are rallying on Wednesday, October 29, at 10 a.m., at 55 Hawthorne Street (between Howard and Folsom, parallel to 2nd and 3rd Streets), in support of Prop J on the November 4 ballot to raise the city minimum wage.

Yunuen is raising two teen-agers on the city minimum wage of $10.74 per hour. Balbina is raising three teen-agers and a four-year-old. They are the human face of the campaign to raise the city minimum wage.

They work for Preferred Building Services which cleans the offices of KGO radio and other stations owned by Cumulus. Besides low wages, they endure abusive and unsafe working conditions and sexual harassment.

Their work involves heavy lifting and the risk of serious injury. A foreman arbitrarily cut hours from eight hours per day to six and said that getting any additional hours would need to include sexual favors in exchange.

The company does not provide paid sick days that are required by San Francisco law or pay medical bills for injuries on the job as required by workers compensation.

The janitors and the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition are calling on KGO radio to take corporate responsibility in ensuring that their janitors receive higher wages, dignity on the job, respect, their rights to sick pay and workers compensation, and full legal protections against sexual harassment and retaliation for asserting their rights.

The San Francisco Living Wage Coalition is a grassroots movement of low-wage workers and their allies fighting for economic justice. The Coalition worked with then-Supervisor Matt Gonzalez to draft the minimum wage ordinance that was passed as a ballot initiative in 2003 and is currently in effect.

Prop J amends the Minimum Wage Ordinance to increase the wage to $12.25 per hour on May 1, $13 on July 1, 2016, $14 on July 1, 2017, and $15 on July 1, 2018, with increases the following years based on the rate of inflation.