Los trabajadores de limpieza asean los establecimientos después de las compras navideñas, pero ellos no pueden festejar con sus familias.

Para Elbida Gomez, la temporada festiva no se marca con alegría o tiempo con familia, sino un aumento drástico en su carga de trabajo—limpiando baños y oficinas, sacando la basura, trapeando y limpiando comida del piso de la cafetería para empleados. 

La madre de dos, de 43 años, dice que es una de solo dos personas cuyo trabajo principal es limpiar la sucursal de Cabela’s—una cadena de tiendas que venden artículos de caza, pesca y campamento—de Woodbury, Minnesota. Aumenta el tráfico peatonal en lo que los clientes hacen sus compras navideñas. Los padres hacen fila con sus hijos para tomarse una foto con Santa Claus. El piso se cubre con chocolate, envolturas de dulces y huellas, y, cuando empieza a nevar, la entrada de la tienda está perpetuamente cubierta de sal y arena, dice. 

“Hay poco tiempo y mucho trabajo”, dice Gomez, quien ha hecho trabajo de limpieza desde que se mudo a los Estados Unidos de Honduras hace unos 15 años. 

Pero en un sector que trata—literalmente—de sanitizar las experiencias festivas de otras familias, a ella se le niega la oportunidad de relajarse y festejar con su propia familia. Gomez no recibe vacaciones pagadas de su empleador, Carlson Building Maintenance, que se contrata para limpiar a Cabela’s.

They Clean After Holiday Shoppers. But They Don’t Get to Celebrate with their Families.

This article is a joint publication of Workday Magazine and In These Times. For Elbida Gomez, the winter holiday season is not marked by cheer or family time, but by an exponential increase in her workload — cleaning bathrooms and store offices, taking out the trash, mopping entrances and wiping up food from the floor of the employee cafeteria. The 43-year-old mother of two says she is one of just two people whose primary job is to clean the Woodbury, Minn., location of Cabela’s, a big box store chain that sells hunting, fishing and camping goods. Foot traffic increases as patrons do their holiday shopping. Parents line up with their children to take a photograph with Santa Claus.

First Avenue workers pose with their fists raised outside the iconic Minneapolis music venue only a few hours before the First Avenue management voluntarily recognized the union.

First Avenue Workers’ Victory: Another Win for Union and Worker Center Collaborations

In the late summer of 2021, a group of workers from First Avenue, the iconic Minneapolis music venue, were fed up with low pay, last-minute scheduling, lack of parking, and safety concerns, and wanted to implement some of their own ideas in their workplace. Unsure of how to get it done, the workers decided to first contact  Restaurant Opportunities Center of Minnesota (ROC-MN) to learn more about their workplace rights. 

Fast forward to November 2: Over 200 bartenders, event staff, and other in-house workers across seven venues affiliated with First Avenue marched on the boss and delivered a petition that included the faces and names of over 70% of staff who want to unionize with UNITE HERE Local 17. About 24 hours later, First Avenue management voluntarily recognized the union. 

Workers say the unionization effort was successful, in part, due to the collaboration between the worker center and the union. Even before formal recognition, workers were confident. Pauli DeMaris, a First Avenue bartender and event staff for the past 18 years, said in an interview with Workday Magazine a few hours before recognition, “We have over 70% majority already on board.

A shot of the Master Lock factory in Milwaukee, WI as a worker leaves after their shift.

Master Lock Factory in Milwaukee Closes After 100 Years

After more than 100 years, Master Lock’s iconic factory in Milwaukee is shutting its doors in March 2024. The closure will result in 400 lost union jobs, and also mark the end of a former industrial region of the city that once housed some 50 plants. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfmKb2dvimU

The Real News, In These Times, and Workday Magazine speak with current and former Master Lock workers on what the closure of this longstanding plant means for them and their community. Transcript

The following is a transcript of the video

President Obama:

Hello, Milwaukee. That’s what we’ve got to be shooting for is to create opportunities for hardworking Americans to get in there and start making stuff again and sending it all over the world, products stamped with three proud words, “Made in America.” That’s what’s happening right here at Master Lock.