Rockville, MD – Commercial office cleaners celebrated the Montgomery County Council’s passage of the “Building Service Employees Minimum Work Week Act,” which ensures that building service workers of large commercial office buildings are employed in shifts of no less than 30 hours a week. Many cleaners are only offered part-time hours that leave them working multiple part-time jobs to support themselves and their families.
By creating hundreds of full-time jobs, the law would save taxpayer money for public healthcare programs like Montgomery Cares and Medicaid. 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.
“I need breast cancer screenings, I have been putting my faith in God to get health insurance,” said commercial cleaner, Miriam Pineda, a single mother and the sole provider caring for her grandchildren who currently has no health care benefits.
Alexandra Burgos is a cleaner who has flown all the way to the Dominican Republic just to see a doctor. “Now, I don’t have to worry if something serious happens or if I have an emergency!” Burgos also struggles with the financial, physical and emotion toll of caring for her husband, a U.S. veteran home sick and unable to work.
Under a similar D.C. law enacted in 2017, 475 previously part-time union workers became fulltime shortly after the law was implemented. This change resulted in the workers gaining access to healthcare and receiving monthly pay increases of between $300 and $900. A noted expert in real estate economics, Hugh Kelly testified that the building services industry within D.C. has responded positively to a nearly identical law enacted four years ago.
Maryland’s recent ranking as the 13th best state to work in in America was due in large part to the state’s wage policies and its worker protection policies similar to the Minimum Work Week Act.
With more than 173,000 members in 11 states, including 20,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area and Baltimore, MD, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.