The Justice for Jeyasre Speaking Tour Stops in Minneapolis
December 6th, 2021
Gathering around a screen projecting Thivya’s face, worker-leaders from the SEIU Local 26 office in Minneapolis raised their fists and chanted ‘when we fight, we win’. With a resounding echo of solidarity, that was how the final stop of the Justice for Jeyasre Speaking Tour ended.
SEIU Local 26 represents janitors, security officers, window cleaners and more and is no stranger to strikes and fights with major corporations . Representing such a wide swath of workers, this union is used to crossing borders and boundaries that often divide workers – they even have all of their meetings in three different languages. But, across all of these divisions, their struggles unite them and the same applied to Thivya, the Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labor Union, and the #JusticeForJeyasre campaign.
Belinda Mendez, who has worked as a janitor and now organizes with SEIU shared how a supervisor at a major janitorial company had been harassing women for years, but no one reported him. The manager was friends with the supervisor and the janitors feared losing their jobs. Then, they engaged the union. Now, Belinda and many others are bargaining for better protections for women workers in multiple contracts across the industry.
When workers come together and form unions, they can improve their workplaces and their lives. When unions come together and form a movement, they can transform the system of exploitation that global brands use to keep production high and costs low, the same system that cost Jeyasre her life.
Together, SEIU Local 26 and the Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labor Union will work in solidarity to prevent workplace harassment and improve conditions for workers from Minnesota to Tamil Nadu.