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SEIU California Cleaners Show Solidarity with Nestl� 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 Nestl� headquarters in Southern California), members of SEIU Local 1877 showed their solidarity with the union struggle at Nestl� Russia's Perm factory by distributing leaflets and displaying banners on April 16.

The leaflet informed Nestl� headquarter employees that "Right now, subcontracted janitors who clean the Nestl� 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, Nestl� has refused to negotiate in good faith with their employees, telling them, 'We don�t negotiate wages!' IUF reports that many Nestl� workers have had to sell their own blood to supplement their low pay." Following Nestl�'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 Nestl� USA and Russia senior management.

The women and men who clean Nestl�'s headquarters understand well the situation of Nestl� 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 Nestl� put an immediate stop to Perm management's unacceptable practices and pledging IUF support for the Perm struggle to ensure that Nestl� "respects the right to negotiate wages in all its operations, including in Russia."