New Contract with Living Wage Makes Holidays Bright for 23,000 Janitors
NEW YORK – With expiration looming, the 32BJ SEIU New York bargaining committee has secured a tentative, four-year agreement with the Realty Advisory Board (RAB) covering 23,000 New York City office cleaners. The deal, subject to ratification by the members and the employer association, provides a 14.8% increase in wages and benefits over the life of the contract and maintains health care, retirement and other benefits.
“This is the contract we need to support our families in New York City,” said bargaining committee member Anna Dziubek, a cleaner at 721 Broadway. “I will be able to celebrate the holidays with my family knowing that I can keep up with the rising cost of living and provide a bright future for my daughter. I know thousands of other union members will be doing the same.”
Negotiations for a new contract began on November 17. Just this week, over 5,000 cleaners voted to authorize the 32BJ bargaining committee to call a strike if they couldn’t come to a fair deal with the RAB. The janitors held a solidarity march and rally with 32BJ residential and security members to show that the entire 32BJ family is united for good jobs.
“Just in time for the holidays, these workers will receive a wage increase that helps them pay the rent and put presents beneath the tree,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. “These jobs are the bedrock of New York — they support families and communities across the city. We are proud of how we come together and win for working men and women when we bargain; our hope is to bring more and more low-wage workers to the table and continue to lift families and communities out of poverty and into the middle class.”
The janitors clean more than 1,300 buildings in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island including Rockefeller Center, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, the Chrysler Building, Met Life, the Empire State Building, and 1 World Trade.
“We are happy that our contributions to the real estate industry are recognized in this deal,” said bargaining committee member Rosa Gittens, who works as a janitor at 1166 6th Ave. “We are proud of the work we do and how we keep offices clean and welcoming for tenants. And we’re proud we stood together for the jobs our families and our communities need.”
“This contract builds on the good jobs union members have been fighting for over the years and will protect future workers as well,” said 32BJ Vice President and head of the Commercial Division Shirley Aldebol. “We’re proud to be part of the Raise America campaign across the country that is fighting to lift up janitors and all workers.”
More than 130,000 SEIU janitors across the nation will negotiate contracts in 2015-2016 to raise the standards of their industry. More than 75,000 from Boston to Virginia are members of 32BJ SEIU. This week 32BJ members in the Philadelphia suburbs and New Jersey also reached tentative agreements for new four-year contracts covering 8,400 janitors, following agreements earlier this year in the Washington DC area, Pittsburgh and downtown Philadelphia. Negotiations continue in Connecticut, Westchester, Long Island and Delaware.
With more than 145,000 members in 11 states, including 70,000 in New York City, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.