Janitors who clean Kohl’s departments stores and their allies held actions Saturday around Minnesota to put pressure on the company to sign a responsible contractor policy.
The “Back to School” actions included a march by more than 200 workers around the Kohl’s store in Roseville. It was led by janitors organizing with the Twin Cities worker center, CTUL, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha/Center of Workers United in Struggle.
The workers want Kohl’s to join Target and Best Buy in signing onto a responsible contractor policy, which would ensure the chain’s cleaning contractors treat workers fairly.
“For Kohl’s, Back to School season means more money. During Back to School sales, Kohl’s rakes in about 15% of their yearly profits ($673 million last year),” workers said in announcing the actions.
“But for retail janitors contracted to clean Kohl’s, Back to School season just means extra work maintaining stores during one of the busiest times of the year. Despite the hours and effort they put in, janitors who clean Kohl's are paid poverty wages and often can’t afford to shop at Kohl’s for their own children.”
At the same time, the Greater Minnesota Workers’ Center led delegations to Herberger’s stores in St. Cloud. Herberger’s has been in discussions with CTUL about a responsible contractor policy, the worker center said.
Groups joining the workers included students and members of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, the Minnesota Nurses Association and the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters.
“It is not fair to have janitors working at poverty wages where they can’t even afford to shop where they work,” the St. Paul Federation of Teachers said in a statement of support.
Workers are organizing through unions and other organizations to improve their lives. Union representation provides a voice on the job and the opportunity to improve wages, benefits and working conditions.