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Twin Cities janitors, security guards set to strike at places from Target to airport, sports venues

Dee DePass, Star Tribune on

Published in Business News

MINNEAPOLIS — Nearly 8,000 janitors, security guards and airport service workers announced they are prepared to begin striking in one week at Best Buy, Target, Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, plus other stores, sports venues and offices across the Twin Cities.

The guards and janitors are members of SEIU Local 26 and work for about 35 subcontractors that are responsible for cleaning or guarding scores of the best-known buildings across the metro.

The two sides have bargained since November. Four bargaining sessions remain before Saturday's deadline. If no agreement is reached, the union members will begin striking next Monday, union officials said during a meeting this morning. The union is working to coordinate its strike date with several other unions, including those representing St. Paul teachers and Minneapolis public works employees, they said.

If the guards and janitors strike, the impact could be widespread. Represented employees work at Target, Best Buy, Ikea and Lunds & Byerlys, among other stores. They also work at the airport, for Delta and at office buildings from 3M's headquarters campus in Maplewood to U.S. Bank, Ameriprise and IDS Center towers in downtown Minneapolis.

They also work at venues from U.S. Bank Stadium to Target Center and the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Union members, who voted Feb. 3 to authorize a strike, are demanding better pay, a pension and significantly improved training, especially for retail security guards who respond to thefts and other crime, union officials said.

 

Employers say they are asking too much and call their demands "extraordinary."

About 5,000 of the SEIU members are Minnesota office and retail janitors who work directly for large subcontractors such as ABM Industries, Marsden, Harvard Services Group, Carlson Building Maintenance, IFS Group and ISS Facility Services.

About 2,000 of the union members work for various security outfits including American Security/Marsden, GardaWorld and Garda subsidiary Best Crowd Management.

Union officials said they delayed starting a strike for a month in the hopes interim bargaining might produce four "master" labor contracts that would apply to dozens of employers.

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