No Strike: Janitor’s Union Makes 11th Hour Deal

Thousands of Center City custodial workers ink four-year deal.

Courtesy of 32BJ SEIU. Photo by Matt Stanley.

Courtesy of 32BJ SEIU. Photo by Matt Stanley.

The threat of a strike by thousands of Center City janitors has been averted as the 32BJ SEIU union inked an 11th hour deal with the Building Owners Labor Relations Inc. late Thursday evening.

The SEIU represents 2,600 janitors and 200 engineers and maintenance mechanics who work in places like Comcast Center and Cira Centre. Days ago, the union voted to authorize a strike, which would have potentially led to overflowing trash cans, messy offices and elevators systems without anyone to fix potential problems. Thursday was the deadline for making a deal.

Here’s what we know courtesy of an SEIU spokesperson:

It’s a four year deal and includes a wage increase. There is no change to the workers’ pension plans, and they will continue to get health care fully paid by their employers.

The spokesperson declined to give any further details, but said more information will be forthcoming after the union ratifies the deal. The organization will hold a press conference in LOVE Park tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.

“Thanks to this contract we can rest assured that we’ll be able to provide for our families, take care of our health and retire with dignity,” said Juanita Acree, a cleaner at Liberty Place.

The SEIU has taken to the streets numerous times during the negotiations, which began Sept. 3. Daisy Cruz, 32BJ Mid-Atlantic director, likened the union’s fight to the national debate of a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

“They are on the front lines fighting for other low-wage workers, including their suburban counterparts who are fighting for $15 an hour.”