Janitors fired after joining strike confront dealerships they used to clean

A delegation of workers confronts Village Chevrolet General Manager Grant Osgood outside the dealership.

A delegation of workers follows Village Chevrolet General Manager Grant Osgood into the dealership.

 

WAYZATA – Backed by a delegation of supporters, three janitors fired after going on strike confronted the car dealerships they used to clean yesterday, asking managers to use their influence with cleaning contractor ROC to help them get their jobs back.

“I am angry because they’re not listening to us,” fired worker Julio Romero said after meeting with a manager at Village Chevrolet.

Julio and three of his family members, Romualdo Romero, Demecio Romero and Alicia Yopihua, worked as janitors inside Village Chevrolet, Lexus of Wayzata and the Auto Bargain Center Lot – three dealerships lined up along Highway 12 – for the last eight years.

Fired workers (L to R): Romualdo, Demecio and Julio Romero.

Fired workers (L to R): Romualdo, Demecio and Julio Romero.

Frustrated with wages that actually decreased over that time, the Romeros joined janitors from 50-plus stores across the Twin Cities who went on strike June 9. Later that day, the Romeros received notice from their employer – a subcontractor of ROC – that it had lost its contract to clean the dealerships.

The four family members have been out of work ever since. Click here to support a solidarity fund for the workers.

“I can’t go to the store or buy things for my kids. I can’t pay my bills,” Julio Romero said. “I don’t have any extra money.”

All workers, union and non-union, have a legally protected right to strike – it is “protected group activity,” according to the National Labor Relations Act – and workers cannot be fired or punished for exercising it. CTUL, the Twin Cities worker center organizing retail cleaning workers, suspects retaliation was behind the firings, and it has filed a complaint against ROC with the National Labor Relations Board.

But the dealerships don’t have to wait for the NLRB to hold ROC accountable.

Supporters are asked to call Lexus of Wayzata, 952-476-6111, and Village Chevrolet, 952-473-5444, and tell them workers should not be fired for exercising their rights.

Supporters are asked to call Lexus of Wayzata, 952-476-6111, and Village Chevrolet, 952-473-5444, and tell them workers should not be fired for exercising their rights.

“They can talk to their contractors and tell them to bring the workers back to work,” CTUL organizer Susan Kikuchi said. “They do have power.”

CTUL plans to continue protesting inside and outside buildings cleaned by ROC – including Aveda in Northeast Minneapolis at 2 p.m. today – until the contractor does the right thing and reinstates the Romeros.

“I’m not at all regretful,” Julio Romero said. “I did this because there are other workers out there whose conditions are even worse than mine.”

[Call Lexus of Wayzata, 952-476-6111, and Village Chevrolet, 952-473-5444, and tell them workers should not be fired for exercising their rights.]

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: