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It Could Get Messy In Detroit: Janitors Consider Strike Over Wages

July 23, 2018 - 9:30 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - Things could get messy in downtown Detroit without hundreds of janitors on the job.  

The results will be announced tonight at a prayer vigil as janitors carry brooms and mops as well as signs demanding better wages reports WWJ's City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas.  They are demanding at least a $15 an hour wage.  

The 1,700 workers could walk off the job when their current contract expires on July 31. 

The move to $15 an hour has the support of Detroit City Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield. 

“There comes a time as elected officials that we stop simply reciting these statistics and do something to change the narrative,” said Sheffield, who sponsored the resolution. “We have seen tremendous growth in our downtown, and today, by passing this resolution, this body is saying that those who clean and protect our growth shouldn’t be left behind,” she tells SEIU. 

The janitors, represented by SEIU LOCAL 1, keep downtown office buildings like the Renaissance Center clean. 

According to SEIU, "downtown janitors earn as low as $9.25 to $12.45 per hour, making them eligible for government assistance despite working long weeks. As a result, in part, Detroit doubles the national average in unemployment and is first amongst the top 20 big cities in terms of poverty."