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SEIU California Cleaners Show Solidarity with Nestlé Russia Workers' Struggle

Posted to the IUF website 23-Apr-2008

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In the midst of a difficult contract campaign for the janitors servicing commercial buildings in California (including Nestlé headquarters in Southern California), members of SEIU Local 1877 showed their solidarity with the union struggle at Nestlé Russia's Perm factory by distributing leaflets and displaying banners on April 16.

The leaflet informed Nestlé headquarter employees that "Right now, subcontracted janitors who clean the Nestlé headquarters and other commercial office buildings are bargaining a Union contract to win fair wages, family health care, and dignified working conditions. But even as janitors bargain, Nestle’s workers at their KitKat plant in Perm, Russia have been in a four-month stalemate over their own Union contract. According to their union, IUF, Nestlé has refused to negotiate in good faith with their employees, telling them, 'We don’t negotiate wages!' IUF reports that many Nestlé workers have had to sell their own blood to supplement their low pay." Following Nestlé's "Have a break, have a KitKat" slogan, the leaflet called on the company to "Give KitKat workers a break!" and called for protest letters to Nestlé USA and Russia senior management.

The women and men who clean Nestlé's headquarters understand well the situation of Nestlé workers in Perm: in order to secure a decent family income, California janitors would have to work 112 hours a week at current wages!

The IUF Executive Committee, meeting in Geneva April 17-18, adopted a resolution on the situation in Perm, demanding that Nestlé put an immediate stop to Perm management's unacceptable practices and pledging IUF support for the Perm struggle to ensure that Nestlé "respects the right to negotiate wages in all its operations, including in Russia."