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Miami janitors march for fair wages amidst skyrocketing living costs

Commissioner Eileen Higgins joins janitors rallying for equitable union contract

In a spirited display of solidarity and determination, over 100 janitors, supported by Commissioner Eileen Higgins, took to Brickell Avenue on December 13 in a holiday-themed march, amplifying their plea for fair wages and improved working conditions. The janitors' marchkickstarted negotiations for a new union contract that encompasses 2,000 commercial office cleaners responsible for maintaining 70% of Downtown Miami office spaces. Amidst Miami's staggering cost of living, these workers are advocating for substantial wage increases and better benefits to meet the region's burgeoning expenses.

Janitors' struggle amidst exorbitant costs and stagnant wages

With Miami ranking as the sixth most expensive real estate market in the United States, the plight of janitors stands in stark contrast to the flourishing commercial office sector. Despite their pivotal role in ensuring sanitized workspaces, these essential workers find themselves grappling with poverty-level wages. A 32BJ SEIU member and Downtown Miami janitor, Aurora Mendoza, shared her distressing ordeal, highlighting the challenge of affording basic necessities on meager earnings.

Rental prices in South Florida have soared by 32% in just a year, exacerbating the financial strain on janitors who earn a median wage of $13.32 per hour. Many of these workers hold multiple jobs to sustain themselves and their families, with the escalating housing costs pushing them to the brink of financial insecurity.

Janitors March for living wages on road

Push for equitable contracts and industry transformation

Despite improvements in wages and conditions since unionizing four years ago, Miami janitors' actual earnings have stagnated, unable to match the exponential rise in living expenses. They seek a contract transformation that would prioritize full-time positions, aiming to support families and communities comprehensively. The demands encompass wage increments commensurate with living costs, increased holiday pay, and expanded paid time off, echoing their fundamental contributions to Miami's corporate landscape.

Amidst this struggle, Commissioner Eileen Higgins voiced support for the janitors' cause, acknowledging the necessity for equitable contracts in alignment with their sacrifices. The rally, marked by Santa costumes and fervent chants of “All I Want for Christmas is a Living Wage”, symbolized the janitors' collective quest for a dignified living in a city marked by soaring expenses and growing inequality.

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