Strike Averted: 1,400 Suburban Office Cleaners Reach Deal
With 1,400 suburban office cleaners threatening to strike at midnight on Wednesday, the 32BJ SEIU union agreed to a four-year agreement with the Building Operators Labor Relations (BOLR). Now the janitors will continue cleaning 170 office buildings without interruption.
The cleaners make $12.35 an hour but will see wage raises of nearly $2 an hour over the life of the contract. Benefits will remain at their current level.(More details will be available after a union ratification vote this weekend.)
The workers clean the offices of companies throughout Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, and Delaware counties at businesses like Johnson & Johnson, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Brandywine Realty Trust and Vanguard.
“This is a win win for everyone. Just in time for the holidays, these workers will receive a wage increase that helps them put food on the table and presents underneath the tree,” said Daisy Cruz, 32BJ SEIU Mid-Atlantic director. “We are happy the building operators are committed to maintaining good jobs that fuel our local economy.”
Huascar Aragones, a cleaner, said the contract means not having to get a second job.
“This contract means the world to me and my family,” said Aragones. “I will have a good Christmas knowing that next year I don’t have to worry as much about money. I won’t have to work a second or third job and will be able to spend more time with my family.”
The 32BJ SEIU union also made an 11th-hour deal for janitors in Center City office buildings back in October. That deal was for 2,600 janitors plus 200 engineers and maintenance mechanics who work in places like Comcast Center and Cira Centre. It was also a four-year deal and came after the janitors voted to authorize a strike days earlier.
Meanwhile, the union has been attempting to recruit baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners and other workers at the Philadelphia International Airport, aiming to give them representation in a fight for higher wages, better benefits and less stringent time-off policies.
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