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.

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Julio Silva

“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.

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