Janitors go on strike anywhere, especially big cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In another big city they are currently on strike for better wages. Many businesses utilize some type of commercial cleaning service to keep their buildings clean. These commercial cleaning companies usually hire their work out to private contractors. These private contractors are the ones protesting right now for higher wages, among other things like healthcare and time off from work.
Commercial cleaning is a very physically demanding job, and many of the people working in the commercial cleaning sphere work other jobs on top of cleaning in order to pay the bills. One of the protesters stated that she works her cleaning job on top of a job cooking at a restaurant and starts her day at 4 am every day. Many other protesters shared similar experiences, with many adding that they also work have to work 6-7 days a week on average. The amount of work they do at just the commercial cleaning jobs is a lot for how much they get paid as well. In any given day, cleaning crews could cover an entire multi level building, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, performing stain removal, disinfecting, and doing other cleaning services. Performing these tasks for hours on end can be incredibly draining.
The average commercial cleaning contractor is paid only $8.46 cents. This is three dollars less than commercial cleaners in many other large cities, like Milwaukee. Most of the commercial cleaners are also women from other countries, many of which have children and family that they are trying to take care of while also working this low-paying job. Some of the protesters talked about how they barely even have time to visit their children and grandchildren for their birthdays, as they are constantly working these low-wage jobs.
These protesters are looking for higher paying wages from the commercial cleaning businesses that hire them, and they won’t stop protesting until their needs are met.