Hundreds of unionized janitors held a peaceful rally, and an apparent strike, at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills on Thursday to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed new law to raise the minimum wage to from $10 to $15 by 2023.
Thursday’s protest in Beverly Hills was scheduled to coincide with Cesar Chavez Day, celebrating the birthday of the union organizer, who would have been 89 today.
In addition to the protests in favor of the wage hike, the janitors also made calls for stronger worker protections in the janitorial industry. Nearly all the protesters wore the purple-and-yellow of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents nearly 1.9 million workers throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico and Canada.
So far, approximately 800,000 janitorial workers have already been promised raises in minimum wage to $15 in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Monica, all of which have passed their own minimum wage hikes. Beverly Hills has yet to adopt a similar policy.
The protest reportedly made its way to Avenue of the Stars in nearby Century City.
— kat calvin (@KatCalvinLA) March 31, 2016
Similar “justice for janitors” protests also took place in other parts of the world:
— CommonSpace (@TheCommonSpace) March 15, 2016
Cesar Chavez Day was designated a state holiday by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2000 to honor the late labor leader, who was largely credited with championing the fight for improving the quality of life for immigrant farm workers in California’s Central Valley.
Chavez, along with the United Farm Workers, was instrumental in passing California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975. The act made the Golden State the first to provide farm workers with the right to seek union representation and to employ collective bargaining.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.