Downtown March Links Worker Struggles

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Downtown March Links Worker Struggles(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)“We don’t work, we don’t eat!” The chants echoed off the downtown buildings as upwards of a thousand drenched but still defiant office cleaners and their supporters marched up I Street through the rain last night. Contracts covering some 16,000 area workers, members of SEIU 32BJ, are set to expire this Saturday. “We’re going to fight until we get a fair contract,” vowed 32BJ Capital Area Director Jaime Contreras at a pre-march rally in Farragut Square. “Something is wrong in America when one percent of the people own 33 percent of the wealth,” said 32BJ President Mike Fishman, “It’s time for us to fight back!” Alba, one of the purple-clad office cleaners who braved the rain, told Union City that she was there because “we want wages to stop decreasing.” Next to her, Cecelia nodded, adding “we’re losing benefits.” The march was joined by several dozen Occupy DC protestors who had marched from Freedom Plaza to the NLRB and then to the L Street Verizon to link the various struggles for economic justice together. Asked why he was marching in the rain, Miguel – a member of 32BJ for the past five years – said simply “they cut sick days… they cut wages… this is the only way they will listen to us.”
- report by Chris Garlock & Julia Kann; photo by Chris Garlock


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