Janitor mopping in an office building

On June 15 — which happened to be Justice for Janitors Day — the Service Employees International Union Local 49 released a report on how a new Oregon law could clean up the janitorial industry. According to Public News Service reports, labor organizations are recognizing custodians on Justice for Janitors Day for their struggle for fair wages and a safe working environment.

Beginning July 1, contractors will have to obtain a license from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and train workers in workplace abuse prevention. The SEIU report’s author Jeremy Simer said building owners and property managers will also be accountable under this law.

"The state law is now holding both janitorial contractors and their customers responsible for cleaning up the industry and making sure that janitors doing this hard work, often for low pay, that their rights are respected, that they're paid fairly and they're not subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination," Simer said in the article.

The report describes janitorial contractors that have been charged with wage theft and workplace safety abuses. Under the new Oregon law, anyone who uses unlicensed companies can be fined up to $2,000. According to Simer. put workers in dangerous positions because they feel like they can get away with it, especially with vulnerable populations who don't speak English as a first language.

Simer suggests owners and managers use SEIU's contractors guide to find companies that are following responsible contracting practices.

Read the article here.