A company that cleans Best Buy stores has become the first cleaning contractor in the Twin Cities to sign an agreement with a union that is trying to organize janitors.
Kellermeyer Bergensons Services, based in Ohio, has signed a deal with the Service Employees International Union acknowledging the rights of workers to organize a union and ending the possibility of strikes at the stores it cleans, according to CTUL, the worker center closely aligned with the SEIU.
So far, Kellermeyer Bergensons is the only cleaning company locally to make such an agreement.
CTUL claimed a major victory in June when Target Corp. introduced a responsible contractor policy, encouraging its cleaning contractors to negotiate with the SEIU and CTUL.
But contractors have been slow to follow through on the policy, which requires them to set up safety committees made up of at least 50 percent workers, give workers the option of at least one day off each week and ensure workers the right to form a union without fear of retaliation.
CTUL had protested Target several times and pushed for the retailer to hold contractors responsible for the treatment of workers who clean Target stores but get their paychecks from a different company.
Kellermeyer Bergensons is not a Target contractor. Now CTUL is putting pressure on other cleaning companies, especially Prestige Maintenance USA, which cleans Target stores.
Bonifacio Salinas, an employee at Prestige, said the cleaning company is still not taking the policy seriously.
"Many workers are still forced to work seven days a week, and the company has not engaged in sincere dialogue to address issues of poverty wages and poor working conditions," Salinas said in a statement.
Officials at Prestige Maintenance, which is based in Plano, Texas, declined to comment Thursday.