Pittsburgh – Commercial office cleaners – members of 32BJ SEIU –overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year agreement with their employers over the weekend. The contract covers workers who clean and maintain buildings in downtown, the Strip District, Oakland and other East End neighborhoods.
The deal calls for strong wage increases, maintains employer-paid healthcare, and increases contributions to the pension. During negotiations, members rallied to close the wage disparity between downtown cleaners and those in the Strip District. With the new contract, those outside of the Central Business District will earn more than $17 by the end of the agreement.
“This is a win for our members, our families and our communities. While many of us work outside of our communities, we spend our hard-earned dollars in our neighborhoods. A strong agreement keeps us spending in our community, making this a deal that supports all,” said Nekia Burton, a 32BJ cleaner.
The cleaners began negotiations with their employers, representatives of commercial cleaning contractors on September 18. While the city is seeing tremendous growth, especially in the Central Business and Strip Districts, cleaners want to share in the city’s prosperity.
“We are glad to reach a resolution that benefits our members and will allow them to share in the growth that is taking place across the city. Billion-dollar businesses call Pittsburgh home. Our members take care of the wealthiest buildings in the city and deserve to be able to maintain their homes and support their families. This agreement helps them continue to carve a pathway towards the middle class and strengthen the communities where they live,” said Sam Williamson, 32BJ Western Pennsylvania District Leader.
During the negotiations, the cleaners waged an
d aggressive campaign and garnered support from local and state elected leaders including: Mayor Bill Peduto, Councilmembers Deb Gross, Erika Strassburger, State Senator Lindsey Williams, and City Council candidate Bobby Wilson.
More than 850 commercial cleaners help maintain the buildings that adorn Pittsburgh’s iconic skyline, buildings like the U.S. Steel Tower, Gateway Center, PNC Plaza and PPG Place. An additional 650 workers clean sites throughout Allegheny County like UPMC Sports Center, the Bayer Headquarters and Southside Works.
Pittsburgh cleaners can add their victory to the most recent wins of strong agreements that happened two weeks ago in Washington, D.C and in Philadelphia. Between this year and next, some 75,000 cleaners along the East Coast are bargaining with their employers for strong contracts that will allow them to support themselves, their families and their communities.
The new contract expires October 31, 2023.
With 175,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 22,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.