BOSTON--()--Dozens of students, activists and community leaders came together this Thursday in Copley Square at 3:00pm to prepare for escalated actions should the need arise if the cleaning contract expires before janitors are able to reach a fair agreement.
“I am an East Boston resident and I know that so many of my neighbors will be affected if a good contract isn't negotiated. We all deserve to have good paying jobs with benefits so that we can take care of our families.”
Organizers led “know your rights” trainings to prepare participants for peaceful civil disobedience; participants learned about arrest protocol and what to expect during the intensified actions planned to take place in the weeks ahead. The hands-on coaching session featured live demonstrations of non-violent protest tactics, including sit-ins, pickets, and street blockades intended to provide community members with the tools needed to carry out a successful action.
“People of good conscience have used civil disobedience all throughout history to fight injustice and it’s an important part of democracy,” said Cris Lagunas, an Organizer at ACE, who assisted in training participants with mock actions. “I’m happy to help train and inspire others to exercise their right to engage in non-violent, peaceful protest during this important struggle.”
Amanda Jusino, from Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE), participated in the training to lend support to her neighbors. “I am an East Boston resident and I know that so many of my neighbors will be affected if a good contract isn't negotiated. We all deserve to have good paying jobs with benefits so that we can take care of our families.”
The training was scheduled in response to the growing support from the community as janitors move into their final week of negotiations with the cleaning contractors. Although some progress has been made, the parties still remain very far apart on key issues, including creating a path to full-time work and expanding access to employer-provided healthcare. According to SEIU Local 615, after many recent reports of workers being met with threats and intimidation, janitors have voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike, which could begin as early as October 1st.