DETROIT – Hundreds of janitors whose union contract expires July 31 will march on Woodward Ave. this Friday, July 13 at 11 a.m. While Detroit’s janitors struggle to keep their families out of poverty by cleaning the buildings and office space of the world’s richest corporations, those same companies made billions in profits just last year.
The janitors are marching down Woodward, calling for better jobs as they bargain for a new union contract with fair wage increases that will enable them to provide for their families. With half of Detroit’s children living in poverty, Detroit’s working families are working harder than ever to secure a better future that seems further out of reach every day. Detroit area janitors make about $22,000 annually – a stark contrast to the financial situation of the corporations whose offices they clean.
The major national corporations that have offices in the three-block area of the march profited almost $21 billion in 2011, while their CEO’s took home more than $75 million in compensation. Dan Gilbert, named one of Forbes’ richest people with a net worth of approximately $1.5 billion, also owns multiple properties along Woodward Ave. Mr. Gilbert has received over $281 million in government aid (including $12.261 million from the city of Detroit) over the last ten years to keep his profitable companies in Detroit while Detroit continues to drift towards a default.
These same janitors have been protesting the Penobscot Building in downtown Detroit, where 13 janitors recently lost their jobs with just 24 hours notice. Triple Properties, a Canadian corporation owned by the wealthy Apostolopoulos family, recently purchased Detroit’s landmark Penobscot Building and promptly laid off 13 janitors notice after years of dedicated service.
WHAT: Janitors March on Woodward Avenue
WHEN: Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: The march will start at Grand River Ave. and Library St. The marchers will pass the Chase, Penobscot and Buhl buildings and end at Hart Plaza.
WHO: U.S. Congressman Gary Peters
Detroit City Council Member Kenneth Cockrel, Jr.
Detroit SEIU Local 1 janitors and community supporters
VISUALS: Hundreds of Detroiters marching down Woodward Ave. waving large bright yellow and purple flags and posters
BACKGROUND: Detroit-area janitors began contract negotiations in mid-May that will impact more than 1,000 local janitors. For the first time ever, SEIU Local 1’s janitorial contracts in all 11 cities expire in the same year. These contracts impact the livelihood of 22,000 Local 1 members and their families. Victories in Chicago and Cleveland have ensured thousands of families in those cities will have a brighter future.