A group of immigrant janitors in California are changing the janitorial industry from the ground up. On June 24, over 100 janitors, mostly members of SEIU United Service Workers West, celebrated graduation from Promotora trainings. The trainings covered the prevention of sexual harassment and assault, as well as certifying janitors to train their coworkers across the state to prevent violence in the future. The training is part of an innovative strategy to end sexual violence before it happens, based on a simple concept – that empowered workers who know their rights are the best trainers on how to prevent future workplace violence.
Video: Promotora Graduation
Promotora Graduation NBC
Thank you again to everyone that made the Promotora Graduation possible. Support AB547 wich will ensure that all janitors in California receive the Promotora traininig. #YaBasta #JusticeForJanitorsPosted by SEIU United Service Workers West on Wednesday, June 26, 2019
The movement to end sexual violence in the janitorial industry gained publicity after the release of PBS Frontline’s documentary Rape on the Night Shift. The documentary told the story of the violence faced by immigrant women working overnight throughout the country, but especially in California, and the system of subcontracting that prevented them from seeking justice from perpetrators of violence.
Led by immigrant survivors of sexual violence committed to preventing future attacks, California janitors fought for and won a series of bills to clean up the janitorial industry. The requirements are similar to legislation in Oregon and Washington that was inspired by California janitors’ demands – janitorial contractors are required to obtain licenses and provide thorough training to prevent violence and harassment. California janitors are leading the way to develop models for preventing ongoing violence, through peer-to-peer trainings certified through training programs such as the one completed in June. Oregon janitors are fighting alongside their coworkers. Hosted by the janitors’ union in Oregon, SEIU 49, union janitors began know-your-rights, sexual harassment and violence prevention trainings beginning in 2018 and throughout 2019. Even with new license requirements for janitorial employers in Oregon, there is still a long way to go to ensure that the rights of Oregon janitors are protected. The best way to ensure that workers have access to resources such as training, fair wages, and a process to protect their rights is to choose a verified Responsible Contractor from the list at www.raiseamericaPDX.org/Responsible.