Target stores the target of two-day strike

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MINNEAPOLIS - Workers who clean Target and other retail stores in the Twin Cities held a two-day strike, that started at 4 p.m. on June 10 and ran through midnight, June 12, to protest working conditions and call attention to their right to form a union.

The walkout included demonstrations and a delegation to the Target shareholders' meeting in Denver. The strike by members of CTUL, Centro de Trabajadores Unido en Lucha/Center of Workers United in Struggle, included retail cleaners at 25 Target stores in the metro area, as well as Home Depot, K-Mart, Kohl's, and Sears stores.

The workers are employed by various cleaning contractors - not by the retail chains themselves. But CTUL has put public pressure on Target and the other retailers, saying the chains must make sure the cleaning contractors are providing fair wages and working conditions and not violating worker rights.

Picketing ran from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on June 11 in front of the Target store in downtown Minneapolis, and 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on June 12 near the Target store in St. Paul.

On June 12, a delegation from CTUL went to the Target shareholder meeting, "where striking workers will inform shareholders about workers' rights violations taking place in the sub-contracted cleaning of Target stores," CTUL said.

CTUL also announced that one Minnesota-based cleaning contractor, Anisca Floor Maintenance, agreed to remain neutral and not oppose any effort by its employees to form a union.

"At Anisca we feel that it is important for all employees to be respected, treated fairly and be well compensated for their labor. Due to the nature of our industry some companies do anything they can to meet that bottom line, be it squeeze employees' wages to below state required minimums, or other more unsavory tactics," Caleb Ambriz, general manager at Anisca, said in a statement posted on the CTUL website.

"At times the fair treatment of employees can only be accomplished through the use of third parties such as labor unions. Whether or not to use these mediums is a decision that the employees should take based on their own free will, that is why we chose to be the first to sign on to this agreement."

Photo: Target workers on strike in Minneapolis. CTUL.net/Alleen Brown

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