THOUSANDS MARCH TO DEMAND A FAIR CONTRACT
For More Information: Desirée Taylor, 917-808-6857 email@example.com
NEWARK—With no deal on the table yet, janitors have voted to authorize a strike if an agreement isn’t reached soon. And the clock is ticking–contracts for 7,000 32BJ office cleaners and school janitors expire on December 31st. On Wednesday, thousands of workers and supporters took to the streets of Newark to demand a fair contract.
“I work hard and take pride in my job because I know I provide a valuable service,” said Ederle Vaughn, a cleaner at the Prudential Center in Newark. “But I don’t make enough to pay the bills and take care of my family so I work two jobs. A good contract with a living wage would ease the financial pressure and help me give my children a bright future.”
“Employers should be able to pay these hardworking men and women a higher wage and maintain their quality affordable benefits because the commercial real estate industry has rebounded since the recession and the demand for office space is up,” said Kevin Brown 32BJ Vice President and NJ State Director. “And when workers earn enough to afford more than the basics they spend it at areas businesses which is good for the economy.”
32BJ’s 7,000 commercial workers clean more than 500 office buildings in New Jersey including prominent facilities like the Prudential Center, Red Bulls Arena, Merck World Headquarters, Johnson and Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb and Bayer Headquarters.
“32BJ commercial workers touch many lives because they clean and maintain 92% of the buildings in New Jersey,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ Vice President and NJ State Director. “These cleaners are mothers, fathers, grandparents and children who need and deserve a wage increase and quality affordable benefits so they can provide for their families and keep up with increasing living expenses. And when they win good contracts, it raises standards across the industry so it’s a win for all workers.”
Elected officials from across the state rallied and marched with the workers and have pledged to support them if they go on strike.
“I am proud to stand with these men and women who work hard every day to clean and maintain many of the iconic buildings we all utilize in Newark like the Prudential Center and Newark Penn Station,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. “Cleaners deserve fair wages and benefits so they can take care of themselves and their families and give their children a bright future.”
“It’s time to do right by workers who clock in and out of work every day”, said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. “These cleaners provide a vital service. They deserve good contracts that will help them make ends meet and cope with increasing living expenses.”
“Employers are reaping the benefits of the hard work these men and women do every day,” said Senator Raymond Lesniak. “They should pay them a living wage and maintain their benefits because people who work for a living ought to be able to make a living.”
“These workers aren’t asking for much, just respect and a living wage so they can provide for their families,” said New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto. “I fully support these janitors and applaud them for taking a stand for themselves and their families.”
32BJ bargaining committee members will resume negotiations tomorrow December 17th with the New Jersey Contractors Association. Current contracts expire on December 31st, 2015.
*About 32BJ: With 145,000 members in 11 states–including more than 11,000 in New Jersey–32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.