The “platanito protest” saw unionized janitorial employees marching on their shirts with the fruit taped.
The infamous banana-taped-to – the-wall by Maurizio Cattelan continues to reverberate far beyond the world of art. The immediately iconic work is now the symbol of a heated activist rebellion of janitorial workers based in Miami, in a movement called “the platanito protest.”
Janitors marched today in downtown Miami in protest of low wages and working conditions in their industry, matching purple union shirts with bananas taped to their fronts.

The $120,000 price tag that accompanied Comedian, the duct-taped banana of Cattelan, sparked the protest, with participants comparing themselves and their labor to the fruit’s value.
“How much are we worth? A banana is, apparently, worth more than us,” said Felipa Cardenas to the Miami New Times, who joined the protest after a morning cleaning shift. “Our work is something people don’t value; they look at us like we’re nothing. But it’s a job with dignity, and it’s tough work. We deserve better payment.”
Cardenas makes $8.46 an hour to clean up a luxurious Miami downtown office building. She says she can’t afford rent or utility bills with her meager salary.
Nearly 60 percent of subcontracted janitors in Miami live close to or below the federal poverty line, according to a report by UCLA’s Center for Community Knowledge.
Ana Tinsly, a union spokeswoman for 32BJ SEIU’s Florida division, representing more than 1,200 janitors in the region, spoke about the banana-born protest: “The platanito protest is to illustrate the absurdity of someone spending tens of thousands on a banana taped to a wall in a city where janitors earn so little they can’t afford to feed their families,” she said.
“Miami should not be a playground for the rich; it should be a place where all residents can earn a decent living and raise their families,” she added.


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