FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Julie Karant: 646-584-9001
Eugenio Villasante: 212-539-2940
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 8, 2011
CONTRACT TALKS OPEN FOR 12,000 CLEANERS IN WASHINGTON, NORTHERN VIRGINIA, MONTGOMERY COUNTY & BALTIMORE
– Union Proposals Focus on Increasing Wages as Industry Brings in Record-Setting Rents –
Washington, DC – Negotiations begin today for a new union contract covering 5,000 commercial cleaners in Washington, D.C., nearly 4,000 cleaners in Northern Virginia, over 1,500 cleaners in Montgomery County, Maryland and over 700 Baltimore cleaners begin today between 32BJ and cleaning contractors who serve the area’s real estate industry. 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.
“Washington’s multi-billion dollar real estate industry is among top in the nation and can afford to give hard-working office cleaners a raise,” said Jamie Contreras, 32BJ Capital Area Director. “Our proposals will ensure that these men and women get the wages they need to support their families and that employers and tenants get a more reliable work force.”
32BJ commercial cleaners 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.
“Hard-working office cleaners shouldn’t have to struggle to get by when the Washington real estate industry is outperforming other U.S. markets,” said Mike Fishman, 32BJ President. “We need to create good jobs that will help rebuild the middle class, restore our economy, and reclaim the American Dream for millions of families.”
“Our workload is growing, but not our wages,” said Oscar Zapata, a father of two who has worked as a UNICCO-employed cleaner in DC for 16 years but earns just $12.10 per hour. “We want to offer our families a better future; that’s hard to do with this salary.”
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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