Pittsburgh – In advance of Friday’s Pirates’ home opener, seasonal cleaners – members of 32BJ SEIU – at PNC Park, are calling foul over stagnant contract talks with the organization. The cleaners help to maintain the grounds of one of the nation’s #1 ballparks. The cleaners are demanding $15 an hour in negotiations.
“We helped PNC Park become one of the nation’s top ballparks. It didn’t earn this accomplishment on its own. We work hard ensuring the stadium is maintained for thousands of fans that come to support the team each season. We have families and responsibilities too. We are rooting for the team, but the Pirates organization needs to realize there are no winners if its employees aren’t earning a living wage” said Clarence Thompkins, a porter at PNC Park.
Cleaners at the park earn $12.37 an hour which is significantly less than the average wage of a downtown commercial office cleaner who earns nearly $17 an hour. The team is only offering employees a $.40 raise over the next five years. The cleaners join the movement of fast-food workers, airport workers, homecare health aides, and others who are calling for $15 an hour.
“Unfortunately, the Pirates are notorious for their low player payroll, and now they want to lowball the cleaners as well and hold these men and women back from supporting their families and their communities. Taxpayer money goes to support PNC Park. Public subsidies shouldn’t support poverty jobs,” said Sam Williamson, Western Pennsylvania District Leader 32BJ SEIU.
The cleaners begin the season without a contract since their previous one expired in February.
Interviews with workers are available upon request.
With 163,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 22,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.