June 15, 2023

Linking Fight with Low-Road Contractor, Planned Companies to Justice for Janitors Commemoration, Nearly 100 Essential Philly Janitors Launch Campaign for Contract Covering 3,200 Office Cleaners

Philly office cleaners spoke out about the sacrifices they made during COVID-19, honor co-workers who passed away during the pandemic, commemorate national Justice for Janitors Day

Conshohocken, PA – Today, June 15, nearly one hundred essential Philadelphia area office cleaners commemorated the Justice for Janitors movement by spearheading the fight with low-road contractor Planned Companiesstripping several Pennsylvanians of their crucial union contract. Pulling a union contract from the hard-working cleaners takes away their guaranteed raises, valuable union benefits and vital job protections that they depend on. Every working family deserves a seat at the table to bargain for wages and benefits that keep up with inflation.

Workers, elected officials, and 32BJ SEIU Executive Officers marched and took the fight directly to Planned Companies with a march and rally in the Philly suburbs. The march and protest served as the launch of the campaign for a new industry-wide labor contract in the City and to defend labor standards that have lifted hundreds of downtown and suburban Philadelphia working-class and immigrant families toward the middle class. The current four-year labor agreements covering over 350 Metro Philadelphia office buildings, which expires between October 15 and December 15 covers 3200 office cleaners in the Metro Philadelphia area.

“I was so proud to carry on the banner of the Justice for Janitors movement as we took on Planned Companies,” said Marcelina, 32BJ SEIU Member, Office Cleaner, and Contract Bargaining Committee member. “For the last eight years, I have been so proud to stand with  my labor brothers and sisters as an office cleaner and a proud member of 32BJ SEIU. Today, my labor family reminded me that whether we are taking on low-road contractors or gearing up for our first post-pandemic contract negotiations, Philly cleaners never back down from a fight.” 

“Today, we commemorated the Justice for Janitors movement by calling out a low-road contractor, Planned Companies, for stripping Pennsylvanians of family-sustaining jobs,” said 32BJ SEIU Mid-Atlantic 1201 District Leader Daisy Cruz. “Our campaign to win back those jobs also served as the perfect backdrop to the launch of our office cleaners contract campaign. Covering more than three thousands working Philadelphians, this contract marks the first time we have sat at the negotiation table since COVID-19. Make no mistake; we intend to fight tooth and nail to ensure that the workers who have kept Philadelphia offices clean and safe during the pandemic and beyond win the best contract possible. The memories of the working men and women who forged the Justice for Janitors movement decades ago demands nothing less.” 

The mostly Black, Brown and immigrant essential workers made great sacrifices during the pandemic – hundreds of Philadelphia members of 32BJ who work in commercial buildings lost their lives to COVID-19. Many experienced financial hardship after being laid off, and some did not return to work for over two years. As essential workers, these office cleaners persevered through extraordinary circumstances and put themselves and their families at risk while making it possible for Philadelphia area office buildings to safely re-open as tenants returned to work.

The COVID-19 pandemic and work from home trends have resulted in higher commercial office vacancies and reduced daily occupancy in some commercial buildings. As a result, the commercial real estate industry has cut labor costs by reducing the Philadelphia commercial cleaning workforce by more than 100 jobs.

National Justice for Janitors Day

June 15 marks the 33rd anniversary of a day when dozens of janitors were wounded and arrested by baton-wielding police officers during a peaceful rally to improve working conditions and wages in Los Angeles in 1990. Janitors in 33 cities nationwide are participating in commemorative events. 134,000 janitors will bargain contracts over the next two years across the country.


With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country. 

More to explore

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you consent to cookies being used. Visit our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Scroll to Top