The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Cleaners’ Strike at National Guard Facilities

Jun 25, 2018

A dozen workers from the cleaning crew of 20 at the Army National Guard facility in Arlington in Northern Virginia went on strike in late May. They demand their private employer Didlake let them vote whether to have a union. They want to negotiate issues like health care and pay. As for the working conditions, a striker told reporters, “They give us more and more work. We can't even sit down when we need to sit down.”

Didlake gets tens of millions of federal dollars to clean government and military facilities and run government mailrooms in the Washington, D.C. area. This supposed non-profit hires 2,000 workers with disabilities and provides job coaching under the federal program AbilityOne. In other words, they play on workers’ situation to rake in more money for the company.

The CEO makes more than one million dollars a year while most workers earn only the minimum wage, and little health care.

Organizing and fighting is the way forward for workers. Those at Didlake have started to fight.