Deal includes fair wage increase & protects health benefits for 3,500 janitors
STAMFORD, Conn. — Just two weeks before a potential strike, a 32BJ bargaining committee representing over 3,500 janitors reached a tentative agreement with the Hudson Valley/Fairfield County Contractors Association. The four-year contract—subject to ratification – includes strong wage increases and protects health benefits for office cleaners throughout Connecticut’s Fairfield County and New York’s Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and Westchester counties.
“We are thrilled to have reached an agreement that’s good for workers and good for our communities in Hudson Valley and Fairfield County,” said John Santos, 32BJ Vice President and Hudson Valley District Director. “This contract will give our commercial cleaners a fair wage increase and maintains their high quality, employer-paid benefits. This is also a victory for all working people. When we win good jobs, we show that together we can change lives and lift families out of poverty and into the middle class.”
Negotiations between 32BJ SEIU and the Hudson Valley/Fairfield County Contractors Association began on November 18. Since then, there have been a handful of bargaining sessions but little progress in negotiations. In response, over 1,000 janitors met in Hudson Valley and Fairfield County over two weekends to authorize a strike if necessary. Those strike votes were followed a few days later by rallies in White Plains and Stamford, at which several hundred cleaners, elected officials and community allies demanded movement on a fair contract.
“We’re relieved to have a deal on the table that will keep us working and help us keep up with rising costs,” said Jackon Ojedis a Stamford cleaner at 177 Broad Street. “A good contract with fair wages and benefits gives me peace of mind and the ability to take care of my family.”
“I work hard to support my kids and give them a better life,” said Maria Montes, a Hudson Valley member who works at New York Medical College. “These are the jobs that support families and communities all over the Hudson Valley, that’s why a good contract is important for everyone.”
32BJ office cleaners and school custodians clean and maintain close to 250 buildings across the region, including Landmark Square, the BLT Financial Center, the Royal Bank of Scotland building, and the University of Connecticut in Fairfield County, and at Morgan Stanley, the New York Power Authority, Pepsi Co., and Mack-Cali Properties in Hudson Valley. Details of the Contract will be released following ratification, scheduled in the Hudson Valley for 4 p.m., Monday, December 28 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains. In Fairfield County, Connecticut, the ratification date is tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m., Saturday, December 26 at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 20 Forest Street, Stamford, CT.
With 145,000 members in 11 states–including more than 3,500 in the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County–32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.