Boston, MA– Negotiations for a new, multi-year contract are scheduled to begin on Thursday between between C&W Services, a Tufts University contractor and 32BJ SEIU District 615 the largest property service union in the country. The contract covers nearly 200 custodians who maintain the Medford/Somerville campus.
“These workers help to make Tufts a top-notch university,” said Roxana Rivera, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU District 615. “At a time of increasing economic inequality, these are the kind of good middle-class jobs that not only make Tufts strong but help the entire Boston region thrive.”
With a $1.6 billion endowment, net assets of $2.2 billion and $813 million of unrestricted operating revenues, Tufts is in a strong position to continue offering hardworking Bostonians the good middle class jobs that our communities need.
Major issues include fair wage increases to keep up with the rising cost of living, maintaining and expanding affordable family health care and ensuring the Tufts janitors have stronger contractual protections against indiscriminate layoffs. The workers are also demanding a path to much needed full-time jobs. Far too often employers deliberately part-time what could be decent jobs to avoid their responsibility of paying health care for their workers. When this happens, workers either lose income or take on multiple part-time jobs and spend less time with their families and in their communities.
Costs continue to rise in the Boston area. Since 1990, the cost of living has increased by 68 percent, making Boston the 10th most expensive city in the US. While the city has come out of the Great Recession in much better shape that other big metropolises, not all of our residents have been able to share in the prosperity they help create. It is increasingly difficult to live and work a middle-class job and be able to afford to live here. As mayor Walsh said: “We cannot tolerate a city divided by privilege and poverty.” A city where the very rich thrive and the rest of us struggle shouldn´t become a permanent reality.
Boston, a city of wealth and innovation – a boomtown. People in the top 5 percent make 18 times as much as households in the bottom 20 percent. The income gap continues to grow in Boston, making it the most unequal city in America. And without good paying union jobs the gap will become as chasm.
The promise of America is for everyone, including the thousands of men and women who clean and maintain office buildings and college campuses in MA. We are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers; we are neighbors and community members. Many of us are immigrants from around the world and the vast majority of us live and work in urban centers. We are building America and driving the economies of its cities. Hard working Americans like us deserve to make more than a decent living – we deserve a decent life.
With more than 145,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 18,000 members in the Boston Area, 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country.