Boston, MA – With their contract set to expire on Monday, October 31st, the janitors who clean Tufts University voted on Thursday to authorize their union’s bargaining committee to call for a strike if they don’t reach an agreement with Tufts’ contractor C&W Services by October 31st.
“We don’t take a strike vote lightly, but the hardworking men and women who take care of Tufts are ready to do what’s necessary to support their families,” said Roxana Rivera Vice President of 32BJ SEIU. “Too many people at Tufts still have to cobble together two, three jobs just to pay the bills. We can avoid this problem by promoting full time work and get a good contract.”
Negotiations between C&W Services, Tufts University’s cleaning contractor, and 32BJ SEIU, the largest property service union in the country began last August. The contract covers nearly 200 custodians who maintain the Medford/Somerville campus.
With a $1.6 billion endowment, net assets of $2.2 billion and $813 million of unrestricted operating revenues, Tufts is in a strong position to continue offering hardworking Bostonians the good middle class jobs that our communities need.
The workers are also demanding a path to much needed full-time jobs. Far too often employers deliberately part-time what could be decent jobs to avoid their responsibility of paying health care for their workers. When this happens, workers either lose income or take on multiple part-time jobs and spend less time with their families and in their communities. Major issues also include a fair wage increases to keep up with the rising cost of living, maintaining affordable family health care and ensuring the Tufts janitors have stronger contractual protections against indiscriminate layoffs.
Costs continue to rise in the Boston area. Since 1990, the cost of living has increased by 68 percent, making Boston the 10th most expensive city in the US. While the city has come out of the Great Recession in much better shape that other big metropolises, not all of our residents have been able to share in the prosperity they help create. It is increasingly difficult to live and work a middle-class job and be able to afford to live here.
With more than 155,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 18,000 members in the Boston Area, 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country.