Contracted janitors who clean Express Scripts, joined by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 members and faith allies, recently protested outside the company’s north St. Louis County headquarters to demand fair wages and quality affordable health insurance.
Express Scripts janitors, employed by a contractor named Centaur, struggle to get by on poverty wages and lack access to essential health benefits as outlined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“My coworkers and I work hard every day to clean a Fortune 100 health care company, but we’re making poverty wages and don’t have any real, affordable health benefits,” said Centaur janitor Corey Robinson. “I’m rallying at Express Scripts for higher pay, real health benefits, a voice on a job and a brighter future because they have the power to make things right.”
“Fair wages and quality care aren’t just nice ideas, they are a moral imperative,” said Rev. Rebecca Ragland of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. “Morality requires us to stand against the exploitation of low-wage workers and to question why it is that we have to keep making these demands for fair treatment.”
FAITH LEADERS MOBILIZED
A grassroots movement of faith leaders, in St. Louis and across the country, has mobilized to compel Express Scripts to ensure janitors have access to affordable quality health care, good wages and a voice on the job.
More than 75 Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Unitarian clergy leaders whose churches use Express Scripts as a provider have expressed concern at the poor treatment of Centaur janitors at the company.
USING TAXPAYER MONEY TO FINANCE DEVELOPMENTS
Since 2005, St. Louis County has issued approximately $260 million in bonds to help finance Express Scripts’ redevelopments in the county, and the company is expected to save $9.1 million in sales and property tax abatements.
As a recipient of taxpayer money as well as a Fortune 100 company, Express Scripts has the responsibility and the power to make things right for working people.