The janitorial workers of the 31 St. James Ave. building will be unemployed as of this Friday, May 11. Capital Properties, a Boston-based private real estate firm, recently decided to hire a subcontracting company to replace their cleaning jobs with ones that pay lower wages, have fewer benefits, and offer little job security.
On Wednesday, May 9, the janitorial workers, SEIU Local 615, Justice for Janitors, Occupy Boston, students, and other members of the community rallied in front of the Park Square building at 31 St. James Ave. in protest of Capital Properties. Over 100 demonstrators waved signs and banners, carried puppets and brooms, and chanted in both English and Spanish: “What’s disgusting? Union busting!” and “¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!”.
Towards the end of the picket, a few of the jeopardized workers participated in a speak-out to share their stories. Rosa, a cleaner at 31 St. James Ave. for over 10 years and the sole supporter for her six grandchildren and her mother, told the crowd that she doesn’t know how she will support her family, “I love my children. I am the only mother they have, and I worry about them and providing for them. I hope that the building owners and people responsible for the decision of our jobs will think of us, people who have nothing.”
This Friday, May 11, another protest is taking place outside of 31 St. James Ave., and is expected to be even larger than the last. The rally and picket will begin at 4 PM.
Photos by Chase Carter.