After four years of protests, personnel contracted to clean Target stores across Minnesota will now be able to organize and bargain collectively with their employers. Target has agreed to add clauses to its vendor contracts requiring higher labor standards. According to a draft of the agreement shared with the Huffington Post, these include situpulations that subcontractors "cannot inerfere with workers' organizing rights, must follow wage-and-hour laws and must establish worker safety committees." Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), the labor group that helped organize the protests, told NBC that the new policy will also help ensures that workers "have the right to form safety committees in the workplace," as well as that they "are not forced to work seven days a week." Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, told HuffPost that the company "has always held [itself], and [its] vendors, to high ethical standards […] we agreed that it was important to reiterate our strong commitment to maintaining high standards and complying with employment laws to our vendors." HuffPost reports that the victory came after a series of escalating actions over poor conditions: CTUL carried out a series of three strikes … last year, bringing attention to what the group described as poor working conditions for subcontracted janitors in Target stores. As HuffPost reported a year ago, a unionized janitor cleaning Target headquarters made more than $5 more per hour than a counterpart cleaning a Target store nearby, while also enjoying the health coverage and sick leave that the counterpart did not.
Carlos Ballesteros is a freelance writer based in Chicago. He was born and raised in the South Side and recently graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in History.