For More Information: Julie Karant: 646-584-9001
Washington, D.C. – The region’s commercial office cleaners have ratified a new contract covering 10,500 workers that will provide a $2.00 hourly pay increase over the life of the four-year deal with the Washington Service Contractors Association, which represents the area’s major commercial cleaning companies. The wage increases included in the contract amount to over $68 million in additional wage income over four years for low-wage workers, their families and their communities in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Montgomery County and Northern Virginia.
“Our region’s cleaners are fighting and winning better jobs they deserve, like other low-wage workers in New York and across the country,” said 32BJ SEIU Vice President, Jaime Contreras. “The men and women who clean our offices have won a great contract that will help them better support their families and our economy.”
32BJ’s new agreement, expiring at midnight on October 15th, 2019, covers 4,000 commercial cleaners in D.C., nearly 4,000 in Northern Virginia, more than 1,500 in Montgomery County, Maryland and 700 in Baltimore. Over the four years, wages will go as high as $16.10 per hour for some part-time cleaners and $16.60 per hour for some full-time cleaners.
In D.C. the contract will also increase worker access to full-time hours and thus, full-time income and employer-paid health care. Even though many workers hold multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet, if they do not work for one employer for more than 30 hours per week—the threshold for coverage under the Affordable Care Act—they are likely not covered by employer-provided healthcare.
The creation of hundreds of full-time jobs could potentially save millions of dollars for public healthcare programs like D.C. Alliance, Medicaid, and the federal ACA exchange subsidies. Newly full-timed workers who are currently utilizing these programs would have the opportunity to switch to their employer’s private health insurance, potentially saving taxpayers millions.
“We got a really great contract that’s going to change people’s lives,” said Viridiana Queensbury, a cleaner who works and lives in Northern Virginia. “My co-workers got full-time jobs which gives them more money for their families and employer-paid health care. Your life can change in a second and now we have a legal fund that we couldn’t afford before.”
Beginning July 1, 2018, cleaners will have access to free legal services for concerning issues such as immigration, family and matrimonial matters, housing law and some criminal cases. Full-time cleaners in all regions will maintain employer-paid health care, including prescription drugs, dental, vision and life insurance. Part-time cleaners will continue to receive life insurance and family dental benefits. All cleaners will continue to receive paid vacation, holidays and sick days. As a result of a District of Columbia and Montgomery County laws, all cleaners in those jurisdictions will have up to seven sick days. 32BJ cleaners and security officers were instrumental in efforts that led to passage of bills in both jurisdictions.
In June, janitors marched through downtown D.C. during rush hour, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Justice for Janitors Day. They were joined by D.C. Council members Charles Allen, Brianne Nadeau, Vincent Orange and Elissa Silverman who spoke at the event.
With more than 145,000 members in nine states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.
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