For more information: Frank Soults 860-471-5692
STAMFORD, Conn. — Contract talks open Wednesday, November 18 for thousands of commercial building cleaners in one of the largest private-sector labor agreements to cover Connecticut’s Fairfield County and New York’s Hudson Valley. Over 3,600 commercial cleaners in the region are represented by 32BJ SEIU, the largest building service workers’ union in the U.S. Workers are hoping to negotiate a multi-year contract with independent representatives of the commercial real estate industry and cleaning contractors before the current contract expires at midnight on December 31.
“We are proud to be commercial cleaners in one of the most prosperous areas of the country,” said Maria Trejo, an office cleaner in White Plains and member of the bargaining committee. “In this high-cost area being able to pay rent, bills or send your kids to college shouldn’t be a luxury.”
Since 2011, Hudson Valley and Fairfield County have benefitted from the commercial building boom that has spread across the New York Metropolitan region. Unemployment in the multi-county region is now at well under 5 percent, and area employers such as IBM and United Technologies have enjoyed billions in annual profit.
“We are determined to secure wages, benefits and workplace conditions that will continue to allow our members to provide for their families, and that will help create a base for all working people in our community,” said John Santos, Vice President at 32BJ SEIU.
“Thanks to our good union jobs, my husband and I have been able to help our two daughters go to college. But in a period when I didn’t have medical insurance, I had to have an operation that nearly made that promise of education for our daughters impossible,” said Esther Ramirez, an office cleaner living in White Plains. “Health insurance is something you don’t appreciate enough until you don’t have it.”
With more than 145,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 6,300 members in Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, 32BJ is the largest building service workers union in the country.