They Rappel Down Skyscrapers to Clean Windows. And They're Going On Strike.

A conversation with Eric Crone, union steward and window cleaner who works for Columbia Building Services.

Maximillian Alvarez

Window cleaners polish windows of a skyscraper in the commercial and financial district on January 13, 2008 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

Rappelling down skyscrapers to clean windows is already a very dangerous job. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, high-rise window cleaners with SEIU Local 26 in Minneapolis were also sent into office buildings to disinfect hot spots” where outbreaks had occurred, resulting in many workers contracting the virus. Now, after their previous contract expired, 40 window cleaners have walked off the job, demanding pay increases, reduced health care costs, as well as a state-recognized apprenticeship program that would guarantee better training and safety measures for workers in their trade. In this mini-cast, we talk with Eric Crone, a window cleaner who works for Columbia Building Services and union steward.

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Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive:

  • Jules Taylor, Working People Theme Song”

Maximillian Alvarez is a writer and editor based in Baltimore and the host of Working People, a podcast by, for, and about the working class today.” His work has been featured in venues like In These Times, The Nation, The Baffler, Current Affairs, and The New Republic.

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