32BJ of the Service Employees International Union
For Immediate Release:
October 14, 2011
For More Information:
Eugenio H. Villasante: 212 539 2940
Julie Karant: 646-584-9001
PROPERTY SERVICE WORKERS GET READY FOR A POSSIBLE STRIKE
– More than 2,600 Corporate Office Cleaners Could Walk Off Their Jobs if Agreement Not Reached by Midnight Saturday –
Philadelphia, PA – More than 2,600 property service workers who maintain corporate offices in Philadelphia, including Liberty Place, the Comcast Center, and Commerce Square, are moving closer to a possible walkout, with strike-planning meetings scheduled Saturday. Strike captains have meanwhile been trained to provide instruction on setting up picket lines at more than 100 buildings throughout Center City if an agreement is not reached by Saturday, October 15th at midnight.
“Nobody wants a strike, but we’re committed and ready to do what it takes to get workers what they need,” said Wayne MacManiman, 32BJ Mid-Atlantic Director. “Working families need wages that keep pace with the city’s high cost of living.”
Negotiations for a new union contract covering more than 2,600 property service workers in Philadelphia began on September 9th between 32BJ and representatives of the real estate industry. 32BJ presented its contract proposals to leaders of Building Owners Labor Relations, Inc. (BOLR), an organization representing Philadelphia’s major commercial office building owners, managers, and cleaning companies such as ABM Industries, Inc., The Arthur Jackson Company, and Shellville Facility Services.
“We offered realistic proposals to ensure hardworking men and women receive the wages critical to supporting their families and strengthening our economy,” MacManiman said. “The city’s multibillion dollar real estate industry can afford to give low-wage workers the raise they deserve, and ensure that tenants receive the professional service they want.”
Wages range from just over $12 per hour and up based on job duties. Workers receive paid holidays and after one year of service, paid vacation and personal days. The federal poverty line for a family of four in the United States is $22,350 annually.
The city’s downtown commercial office market is seeing stabilized rents and decreasing vacancies. Additionally, employment, rents, and construction are forecasted to increase.
More than 60,000 property service workers 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 7,000 in Philadelphia, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.
For more information, visit www.standwithbuildingworkers.org .