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Justice and Dignity for Cleaners

Hundreds of City cleaners’ jobs may be contracted out without a chance for our elected Councillors to weigh in and vote on this issue. The cleaners at the Toronto Police Service are the first group under attack. Their jobs may be cut and handed over to private cleaning companies. Other cleaners, like those at Toronto Community Housing, have also been given notice.

Justice & Dignity for Cleaners Campaign goals

  • Establish accountability at City Council for decisions about possible job cuts
  • Protect cleaners’ jobs
  • Create awareness about the human impact of contracting out good jobs by telling the stories of cleaners whose work is usually not visible
  • Create awareness about the overall social and economic impact on our city
  • Recruit more cleaners and allies to be prepared for future fights against job cuts

Why Are Cleaners Jobs’ Threatened?

A budget crisis of $774 million has been manufactured by the Ford administration. Using this crisis, Ford and his supporters at City Council will attempt to privatize many of the city’s services and systematically attack city jobs that pay a living wage. KPMG, a private consulting company, was hired by the Mayor Ford to conduct a Core Service Review and propose many of these cuts.

While the public is focused on the devastating cuts to services, City staff managers are being directed by the Ford agenda to push through job cuts that are not part of the Core Service Review.

The Reality of Contract Cleaning

For decades, private cleaning companies have exploited cleaners – particularly women and immigrants – by paying them poverty wages. Cleaners in the private sector usually work multiple jobs just to keep their families afloat. Many have worked hard to organize themselves and improve their working standards. By paying our cleaners a decent wage with health benefits and providing safety training and job security, our City has defended good working standards for a healthy city.

Good Jobs and the Health of our City

Toronto already has too many poverty jobs. Creating more poverty jobs could have serious, long term consequences. If we want to leave a growing and vibrant city to the next generation of residents, we must start with defending good jobs.

The Ford administration is trying to circumvent democratic and transparent process by directing City managers to make the final decisions affecting hundreds of jobs. Decisions that could impact the overall economic health of our city should be made by elected City Councillors, not City managers. If City Council does not act on this issue, these job cuts will go through. This would also set the stage for many more cuts and layoffs.

City Councillors must take responsibility for supporting living-wage jobs in our city instead of allowing secret, backroom processes that could turn Toronto into a low-wage city.

Good Jobs for All, a community-labour coalition, is organizing this campaign to call
on City Councillors to make the decisions we elected them to make. City Councillors should insist on democratic and transparent decision-making at City Council.

The campaign features a team of City cleaners and private sector cleaners who are supporting a decent wage for all cleaners in every sector.

The Campaign Initiatives Include:

  • Lobbying City Councillors to ensure that these cuts come to a vote at City Council
  • Distributing flyers and posters that targets residents in wards where Councillors have not taken a stand on the issue. Ensuring that Councillors take a side.

Click on the button below to contact your City Councillor now.


If you would like to download the campaign flyer: English | Spanish.

Contact us at info@goodjobsforall.ca for more information.

Justice and Dignity for Cleaners: Nezrene Edwards

The Mayor of Toronto wants to outsource the jobs of hundreds of city cleaners and turn them over to low-wage contractors. There are already too many jobs in Toronto that pay poverty wages. Good Jobs for All wants Toronto to move forward instead of backward. We think cleaners in every sector deserve to make a living wage.

As a city, we can stand up for good jobs that will not just raise standards for workers, but also strengthen our neighbourhoods and communities. Contact your City Councillor and tell them that we should defend good jobs in our city.

Click on the button below to contact your City Councillor now.

Nezrene Edwards
Nezrene

“For 20 years, I have been a Toronto housing cleaner. The residents here know me and I know my work makes a difference for them. Every morning, I come in and clean the grounds, the buildings, compact the garbage, hose the floor to clear maggots and bugs. It’s not pretty, and I am responsible for work that many people would just find really difficult to do. We get shots to prevent things like hepatitis because there is a real risk of getting sick. People need to understand that just because we pick up dirt doesn’t mean we should be treated like dirt. We deserve to be treated with dignity.

I feel bad for some of the cleaners that private contractors bring in while me or my colleagues are on vacation. They get really low pay for doing difficult work. It’s just not fair because all the money ends up in the contractor’s pockets when the cleaners are basically making minimum wage.”

There are already too many jobs in Toronto that pay poverty wages.

In some cases, the companies involved in contract cleaning have grown immensely rich from their operations. Some are in the Fortune 500, with revenues in the billions. Others are cut-throat operations that have a history of exploiting immigrants and violating employment standards.

But there is more at stake here than poor wages. The plan to outsource jobs will start in police stations, where the question of security has always been a major concern. As outsourcing spreads into other facilities such as long-term care, any attempt by companies to cut corners can have a major impact on the health or safety of vulnerable residents.

Download PDF flyer

Justice and Dignity for Cleaners: Julio Silva

The Mayor of Toronto wants to outsource the jobs of hundreds of city cleaners and turn them over to low-wage contractors. There are already too many jobs in Toronto that pay poverty wages. Good Jobs for All wants Toronto to move forward instead of backward. We think cleaners in every sector deserve to make a living wage.

As a city, we can stand up for good jobs that will not just raise standards for workers, but also strengthen our neighbourhoods and communities. Contact your City Councillor and tell them that we should defend good jobs in our city.

Click on the button below to contact your City Councillor now.

Julio Silva
Julio

“For almost 10 years, I worked for various private cleaning contractors and saw up close the kind of cutthroat operations they ran. The pay was so low that I had to work three different jobs to make ends meet.

My fellow cleaners and I struggled very hard to try to unionize ourselves so that we could have a little bit of protection. It was really difficult because the employer tried various tactics to intimidate us. We won a first contract, which was a step in the right direction and gave us hope.

I am now working as a custodian at the school board. I have only one job and when I am done work, I can go home to my family without worrying about how to pay the bills. But there are still thousands of cleaners who are struggling in Toronto for better working conditions. They look to their counterparts in the public sector to raise the standards just a little bit. Unfortunately we have a Mayor who is trying to push hundreds of cleaners into that same situation. It just doesn’t make sense for our city.”

There are already too many jobs in Toronto that pay poverty wages.

In some cases, the companies involved in contract cleaning have grown immensely rich from their operations. Some are in the Fortune 500, with revenues in the billions. Others are cut-throat operations that have a history of exploiting immigrants and violating employment standards.

But there is more at stake here than poor wages. The plan to outsource jobs will start in police stations, where the question of security has always been a major concern. As outsourcing spreads into other facilities such as long-term care, any attempt by companies to cut corners can have a major impact on the health or safety of vulnerable residents.

Download PDF flyer