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Janitors Are Fighting COVID-19 For All Frontline Workers. Why Aren't They Protected?

David Dee Delgado/Bloomberg
A New York MTA worker cleans a handrail in a subway station.

On this edition of Your Call, we’ll hear from janitors on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have expressed fear over the lack of PPE, hazard pay and paid sick leave, and the heavy use of chemicals in cleaning supplies.

According to the Service Employees International Union, which represents 125,000 workers across the US, not all employers are providing hazard pay and PPE for their workers, leaving them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. On April 22, Armando Solis, a janitor at the US Bank Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, tragically died from COVID-19, just two months after helping to secure the biggest pay increases in the history of his union, SEIU Local 26.


Iris Altamirano, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 26 chapter in Minnesota

Marcos Aranda, janitor with SEIU Local 87 in San Francisco

Web Resources: 

Minnesota Reformer, Max Nesterak : Twin Cities janitor dies from COVID-19; union demands PPE and hazard pay

CityLab, Laura Bliss + Sarah Holder: What About the Workers Cleaning Up Coronavirus?