Washington, D.C.-Over 200 Howard University workers who keep campus buildings clean and running smoothly today ratified a new three-year agreement that protects wages and benefits through a first-ever contracting out process. Under the contract, effective retroactively November 4, 2014, workers will see an hourly wages increase by about 3% each year by the contract’s expiration on November 3, 2017.
“This contract is more than a fair paycheck to help us provide for our families,” said . “It gives us hope and respect for the service that we provide students and faculty.”
“We are making a smart investment in the University and in D.C.’s struggling communities where residents deserve good jobs,” said Jaime Contreras, 32BJ Vice President and Capital Area District Director. “Broad support from community and elected leaders helped drive the momentum to protect these workers’ livelihoods.”
Effective January 1, 2015, workers who have been directly employed by the University will be contracted through Thompson, who has committed to allow their own employees at Howard University to join 32BJ to help raise standards for both groups of workers.
Under a new union-sponsored health care plan, workers will have no deductibles and lower copays. The contract also protects pensions for all workers and tuition remission for Howard employees and their children. Many of the workers have sent their own children to the University, including cleaners, carpenters, painters, electricians and plumbers who maintain residence halls, academic and administrative buildings, as well as other on and off campus buildings.
Negotiations began in September between school leaders and 32BJ for workers who have been on the job for as long as 40 Years.
With more than 145,000 members in 11 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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