PHILADELPHIA –On Saturday, 32BJ SEIU cleaners and building service workers voted to ratify a four-year contract covers nearly 3,000 workers who clean and maintain 120 commercial buildings in Philadelphia.
The contract contains strong wage gains, maintains employer-paid health insurance, an increase in pension contributions and language improvements including provisions that help keep employees safe in the work place and curtail sexual harassment.
“We take pride in our work and treat our tenants like family. We are happy to have an agreement that will allow us to take care of our own families and retire with dignity,” said Juanita E. Acree, a cleaner and member of the 32BJ SEIU bargaining committee.
By the end of the four-year contract, most Philadelphia cleaners will make more than $20 an hour, making them among the highest paid in the nation.
“This contract will help Philadelphia’s neighborhoods benefits from Center City’s prosperity. Three thousand Philadelphians just took a giant step towards joining the middle class,” said Gabe Morgan, 32BJ SEIU Vice President.
The workers began contract negations with the Building Operators Labor Relations (BOLR), an association of building owners and operators, on September 13. Over the last five weeks, workers have waged an aggressive campaign that included several massive rallies, a large strike vote, a resolution of support by City Council and numerous building actions. The cleaners saw immense support from numerous elected officials and allies including members of City Council, Senator Casey, Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER) and Vice President Joe Biden
With more than 175,000 members in 11 states, including 21,000 in PA and DE, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.
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