Deal includes wage increases & protects health benefits for thousands of janitors
Newark, NJ — Just 24 hours after thousands of 32BJ SEIU janitors voted to authorize a strike, the bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement with the New Jersey Contractors Association. The 4 year contract—subject to ratification – includes strong wage increases and protects health benefits for 7,000 office cleaners and school custodians.
“We are thrilled to have reached an agreement that’s good for workers and good for New Jersey,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ Vice President and NJ State Director. “This contract will give our commercial cleaners a fair wage with increases and maintains their quality employer-paid benefits. This is a win for our members and all working people because when we win good jobs we set an example for all workers – especially low-wage workers – that together we can change lives and lift families out of poverty.”
Negotiations between 32BJ SEIU and the New Jersey Contractors Association began on October 13, 2015. Since then, there have been a handful of bargaining sessions but little progress. With contracts set to expire soon, yesterday thousands of office cleaners and school custodians voted to authorize a strike and afterwards marched through the streets of Newark.
“We’re relieved to have a deal on the table that will keep us working and help us keep up with rising costs,” said Ederle Vaughn, a mother and longtime cleaner at the Prudential Center in Newark. “A good contract with fair wages and benefits gives me peace of mind and the ability to take care of my family.”
“I work hard to support my kids and give them a better life,” said Sabrina Foxe, a mother of three who cleans at a school in South Orange. “These are the jobs that support families and communities all over New Jersey. I think this contract is a win-win: good for the workers, good for employers and good for New Jersey.”
32BJ office cleaners and school custodians clean and maintain more than 500 buildings across New Jersey including prominent buildings like the Prudential Center, Red Bulls Arena, Merck World Headquarters, Johnson and Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb and Bayer Headquarters.
Ratification is scheduled for Saturday December 19th.
With 145,000 members in 11 states–including more than 11,000 in New Jersey–32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.