PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Essential workers’ union 32BJ SEIU celebrated the passage on Friday of an “An Act Relating to Public Property Works,” which among other improvements would require state contractors to pay janitors and security officers a standard rate, along with providing paid vacation time, paid sick days, and affordable, quality healthcare coverage. The standard would be equal to the Federal Service Contract Act or an applicable collective bargaining agreement. Standards like this are already on the books for construction contractors in Rhode Island state facilities. Other states that have passed similar legislation for janitors and security officers include Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.
The following statement may be credited to 32BJ SEIU Executive Vice President Roxana Rivera:
“Throughout the pandemic, a workforce of mostly Black, brown and immigrant workers has kept Rhode Island’s state-owned office buildings, transportation hubs, state courts, and community colleges clean and safe, yet many of these workers have had to depend on public assistance or juggle multiple jobs just to feed their children. The passage of this bill guarantees that the State of Rhode Island will no longer tolerate substandard treatment for these essential workers on state properties. We express our deepest thanks to Senator Sandra Cano, Representative Grace Diaz, and all the legislators who helped move this bill so swiftly through the legislature, and we thank Governor McKee for signing this bill promptly into law.”
With over 175,000 members in 12 states and Washington DC, including 20,000 in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, 32BJ is the largest building service workers union in the country.