4-year deal includes strong wage increases & maintains benefits
Newark—7,000 32BJ SEIU New Jersey office cleaners and school custodians now have a new contract. The commercial workers overwhelmingly approved the 4 year deal just days after a tentative agreement was reached with the New Jersey Contractors Association. The new contract includes strong wage increases, maintains quality affordable benefits and stops a second tier rate for new employees.
“It feels really good to ratify this contract because it will give me and my family some financial security and good benefits over the next few years,” said Ederle Vaughn, a mother and cleaner who works at the Prudential Center. “This contract will make the holidays a little brighter for me and my three children.”
“A good contract with a living wage will help me put food on the table and meet increasing living expenses,” said Caonabo Mercado, a father and a cleaner at an office building in Jersey City. “This will give me peace of mind and the ability to give my children a bright future.”
Negotiations between 32BJ SEIU and the New Jersey Contractors Association began on October 13, 2015. After a handful of bargaining sessions yielded little progress, on December 16th thousands of commercial workers voted to authorize a strike if no deal was reached. Afterwards, they marched through the streets of Newark. The next day, after a 12 hour negotiation session, bargaining committee members reached a tentative agreement with the New Jersey Contractors Association.
“This is a good contract that includes family sustaining wages and maintains quality employer-paid benefits for our 7,000 commercial workers and their families,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ Vice President and NJ State Director. “But it’s not just 32BJ cleaners who will benefit. When workers earn enough to afford more than the basics they put that money back into the economy. And fair wages help employers retain reliable and experienced employees. This is how we #RaiseAmerica, with good jobs that help uplift families and communities.”
32BJ office cleaners and school custodians clean and maintain more than 500 buildings across New Jersey including prominent facilities like the Prudential Center, Red Bulls Arena, Merck World Headquarters, Johnson and Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb and Bayer Headquarters.
With 145,000 members in 11 states–including more than 11,000 in New Jersey–32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.