FOR MORE INFORMATION: Frank Soults, 860-471-5692
STAMFORD, Conn. —At a meeting in Stamford this morning, over 450 janitors unanimously voted to strike if bargaining sessions don’t result in a new contract by December 31 that protects the janitors’ benefits and includes a fair wage increase.
“So far, the cleaning contractors have not offered to give you a decent raise, have not offered the funds necessary to maintain our pensions and benefits, and have not offered you the increase in dedicated sick days we need,” said 32BJ Connecticut District Leader Juan Hernandez to an impassioned crowd at the Unitarian-Universalist Church. “When they work for finance companies and other corporations that have made millions and billions in profit, this is just blatantly unfair!”
“I don’t need to tell you that the basic necessities like rent and food are increasing, and that Connecticut has some of the greatest income disparities in the country,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. “A fair wage increase is essential for all of Connecticut working people, and we are ready to fight for it!”
“We need to remind the contractors that we have families who depend on our wages, who need these benefits,” said Jackon Ojedis, a cleaner at the UBS building and a member of the bargaining committee. “We are not wealthy. We make a modest living in a wealthy state. We ask the same benefits that all families who work hard should have.”
Negotiation sessions with the Hudson Valley/Fairfield County Contractors association have been regularly held since November 18. The current contract expiring at midnight on December 31 covers 3,500 janitors in Fairfield County and Hudson Valley, NY. Properties cleaned in Stamford include Landmark Square, the BLT Financial Center, the Royal Bank of Scotland building, and the University of Connecticut. The negotiations are part of a series of contract negotiations covering over 70,000 janitors on the East Coast — one of the largest collective bargaining agreements in the country.
With more than 145,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 4,000 members in Connecticut, 32BJ is the largest building service workers union in the country.