32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION
FOR INMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, September 15, 2011
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Julie Karant 646-584-9001, Eugenio H. Villasante: 646-285-1087
MARYLAND DELEGATE GUTIERREZ JOINS MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE CLEANERS AT RALLY FOR GOOD JOBS, STRONG COMMUNITIES
Nearly 100 Cleaners Demand Wage Increases as Office Market is Forecasted to Grow
Silver Spring, MD— Nearly one hundred mostly immigrant office cleaners will rally on Thursday to ask for their chance at sharing in the American Dream. The workers, who earn as little as $10.90 an hour, called upon Montgomery County’s commercial real estate industry to share the wealth created with the workers’ help which would in turn benefit local communities.
“Montgomery County’s office market is growing and can afford to provide hard-working cleaners a raise,” said Maryland Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez. “We need to create good jobs that will help rebuild the middle class, restore our economy, and reclaim the American Dream for working families.”
“The men and women who ensure our offices are clean and safe shouldn’t have to struggle to get,” said Jamie Contreras, 32BJ Capital Area Director. “By ensuring these men and women receive family-sustaining wages, we’re ensuring employers and tenants get a more reliable work force.”
Negotiations began earlier last week for a new union contract covering over 1,500 cleaners in Montgomery County Maryland, 5,000 commercial cleaners in Washington, D.C., nearly 4,000 cleaners in Northern Virginia, and over 700 in Baltimore. 32BJ, the union for the building workers, presented its contract proposals to representatives of major commercial cleaning companies in the region, including Red Coats, American Building Maintenance (ABM), and Building Maintenance Services.
32BJ commercial cleaners in the wider D.C. region earn wages ranging from $9 per hour ($9,360 annually) for part-time cleaners to $12.60 ($26,208 annually) for full-time cleaners. The federal poverty line for a family of four in the United States is $22,350 annually.
More than 60,000 commercial cleaners from Hartford, Conn. to Virginia are united in a campaign to secure new contracts that raise wage and benefit standards.
With more than 120,000 members in nine states, including 16,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.
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