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A group of union janitors yesterday picketed two Oakland, Calif., Safeway stores slated to be remodeled, calling on the grocer’s janitorial contractors to implement “Green Cleaning” standards that would mitigate health and safety risks associated with current toxic cleaning products.
“If Safeway wants to expand its stores in our community, they must take meaningful steps to protect the health and safety of workers, customers and the environment,” said Denise Solis, SEIU Local 1877 Northern California VP. “It’s time for Safeway to drop toxic cleaning chemicals and adopt Green Cleaning standards.”
Preciliano Gonzaga, a janitor at a north Oakland Safeway, claimed that the cleaning chemicals he used were causing health concerns. “The chemicals we use to clean the Safeway stores are very strong, and I’m afraid they are hurting my health and getting on the food, from the air,” he said.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877 is part of SEIU United Service Workers West, representing more than 40,000 janitors, security officers, airport service workers, and other property service workers across California.
Inquiries to Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway weren’t answered by presstime.