Laid-off SEIU Janitors Demand Their Jobs Back

Janitors in California’s SEIU Local 1877 are fighting tech giant Cisco Systems’ mass layoffs. Since February, the Cisco’s janitorial services contractor, American Building Management, has laid off 75 janitors, more than 40 percent of its workforce.

Most of the workers are low-income immigrants and mothers. Janitors still on the job are suffering as well, forced to assume higher workloads that threaten health and safety.

Cisco has largely dodged responsibility, and blames the recession for the layoffs. But financial hardship seems a difficult card to play for a company that was named the world’s fourth most profitable technology company by Fortune magazine in April.

Janitors have launched a series of escalating actions, including several mobilizations outside company headquarters and a seven-day fast that ended June 10.

They are demanding that Cisco order ABM to reinstate all 75 laid-off janitors, and are asking that a discussion begin about how to raise standards for other contracted service workers. The janitors also seek a commitment to use safe cleaning chemicals.

The janitors are targeting Cisco CEO John Chambers, who took home $11 million last year. They’re asking supporters to visit the sidebar at SEIU Local 1877, where you can tell Chambers what you think.