Janitors Protest Use of Nonunion Cleaning Company

Saying that they want to sweep unfair wages out the door, about 400 janitors and supporters shook mops and brooms, rattled cans and chanted slogans Wednesday in front of a 7th Street building--one of the few downtown that still contracts with one of the largest nonunion cleaning companies in Los Angeles.

The protest was held to commemorate the eighth annual “Justice for Janitors Day,” a nationwide effort organized each year by the Service Employees International Union. In 1990, 400 marchers tried to convince a Century City company to sign a union contract. But their march was interrupted by a confrontation with members of the Los Angeles Police Department, which led to dozens of arrests and injuries. In 1993, the City Council voted to award the union a $2.35-million settlement--one of the largest of its kind--against the city, former Police Chief Daryl F. Gates and the LAPD.

Unlike that incident, no one was injured Wednesday.

Shouting “Venceremos otra vez” (“We will be back,”) the protesters marched along 7th Street to the building, where they say Skyline Building Services still pays their janitors minimum wage and provides no health benefits.


Employees of Skyline did not return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment.