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Police remove dozens of demonstrators in janitors' protest

October 26, 2018

Police removed dozens of demonstrators from a street near Eli Lilly and Co.'s corporate headquarters in Indianapolis for blocking traffic during a protest seeking a better contract for janitors.

Nearly 50 demonstrators, including Democratic City-County Council members Zach Adamson and Duke Oliver, were issued written summons Thursday for violating a city ordinance and not complying with police.

Service Employees International Union Local 1 is seeking paid sick time, higher wages and other contract terms. The union is in talks with cleaning companies that do work at Eli Lilly and other facilities. The Indianapolis-based drugmaker says it can't be involved in the talks.

Thursday's demonstration comes after more than 40 protesters were arrested for blocking traffic last month. Contract talks are scheduled to resume next week.

“Currently, janitors who clean Eli Lilly and other buildings in Indianapolis are forced to raise their families on hourly wages as low as $9.75, without affordable health insurance and sick leave," the union said in a written statrement. "Median annual earnings for janitors are so low that many working families rely on public assistance just to make ends meet.”

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