Hartford Area Office Cleaners Ratify New Contract That Averted Strike

32BJ of the Service Employees International Union

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Maia Davis:  212-388-3696; 201-396-4444

Eugenio Villasante: 212-539-2940

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Monday, January 9, 2012

 

HARTFORD AREA OFFICE CLEANERS RATIFY NEW CONTRACT THAT AVERTED STRIKE

 - Union Members Approve Four-Year Contract That Protects Health Care and Gives Yearly Raises to Building Cleaners  -

Hartford CT– Hartford area office cleaners have ratified a new contract that averted a strike which potentially could have affected 125 corporate, government and university buildings in the city and its suburbs. Members voted unanimously over the weekend to approve an agreement that preserves healthcare coverage and raises wages over the four years by 10 percent. A separate contract for New Haven members that would raise their wages 13 percent over four years is scheduled for a ratification vote on January 21.

“This is a fair agreement with modest wage increases that will help the 1,600 building cleaners in the Hartford area continue to move out of poverty and have a chance at the American Dream,” said Kurt Westby, Connecticut State Director for 32BJ SEIU and chief negotiator for the union on this contract. “Our members are struggling to meet essential expenses for housing, heating bills, food and transportation. This contract will help them to meet those expenses, support their families, and contribute to the growth of Connecticut’s economy.”

32BJ represents a total of 2,000 building cleaners in the Hartford and New Haven areas. They clean nearly 150 buildings including some of Connecticut’s most important corporate centers and landmark buildings such as the State Capitol, Travelers’ Tower and Wesleyan University. In New Haven, the list includes City Hall, Long Wharf Maritime Center, and One Century Tower.

Talks between the union and the Hartford Area Cleaning Contractors Association, which represents cleaning companies in both Hartford and New Haven, had begun in mid-November and concluded on the night of December 28th, barely three days before expiration. A breakthrough came after several leading elected officials urged both sides to find common ground and reach an agreement that was fair to workers. They were: Governor Dannel Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, and U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro and John Larson. Other elected officials who had taken a public stand in support of the workers during the course of negotiations included: State Senator John Fonfara of Hartford, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, New Britain Mayor Tim O’Brien, and Hartford City Council Members Larry Deutsch, Luis Cotto and Cynthia Jennings.

# # #

With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 4,500 in Connecticut, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country.

New Haven, CT Tentative Agreement: Subject to Ratification

RATIFICATION VOTE
Saturday, January 21, 2012 • 12 NOON
Gateway Community College
60 Sargent Street
New Haven, CT

The tentative 4-year contract includes:

  • Strike Vote and Rally on Dec. 15, 2011 A total pay increase of 13% over 4 years
  • Increased employer payments to protect health care at no cost to 32BJ members.
  • Reasonable workload protections.
  • Working supervisors cannot issue disciplinary actions against 32BJ members.

Ratification vote will be on:

SATURDAY, JANUARY 21, 2012 • 12 NOON
Gateway Community College, 60 Sargent Street, New Haven, CT

Download the flier here

Hartford, CT Tentative Agreement: Subject to Ratification

RATIFICATION VOTE
Saturday, January 7, 2012 • 11 AM
32BJ Union Office
196 Trumbull St., 4th Floor
Hartford, CT
(Parking only at 20 Church St.)

The tentative 4-year contract includes:

  • A total pay increase of 10% over 4 years
  • Increased employer payments to protect health care at no cost to 32BJ members.
  • Reasonable workload protections.
  • Working supervisors cannot issue disciplinary actions against 32BJ members and they must perform physical work.

Ratification vote will be on:

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2012 • 11 AM
32BJ Union Office, 196 Trumbull St., 4th Floor, Hartford, CT
(Parking only at 20 Church St.)

Download the flier here

2,000 CT Building Cleaners Win Tentative Agreement

32BJ of the Service Employees International Union

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Maia Davis: 201-396-4444

Michael O. Allen: 212-388-3805

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

 

TWO THOUSAND HARTFORD AND NEW HAVEN AREA OFFICE CLEANERS WIN CONTRACTS WITH PAY RAISES

- Strike Averted Three Days Before Contract Expiration -

Hartford, CT – The 32BJ SEIU Bargaining Committee has announced a tentative agreement for four-year contracts covering 2,000 office building cleaners in the Hartford and New Haven areas. If ratified by union members, the wages of building cleaners represented by 32BJ would increase each year over the four years covered by the contract.

“This agreement will help 2,000 hardworking men and women better support their families, which will contribute to our state’s future economic growth,” said Kurt Westby, Connecticut State Director for 32BJ. “It is a win for Connecticut’s working families, businesses, and taxpayers.”

Over the next four years, minimum hourly pay for cleaners will increase from the current rates of: $11 in New Haven; $12.25 in suburban Hartford; and $13.50 in downtown Hartford. In addition, cleaners will continue to get healthcare coverage and other benefits. The agreement reached Wednesday covers two contracts, one for New Haven and one for Hartford.

Anthony Marcel, who has worked five years as a building cleaner at the University of Connecticut at Storrs and who sits on the 32BJ Bargaining Committee, said the contract talks were “hard at first. We were prepared to strike if they kept insisting on a wage freeze. This is a fair agreement.”

“For most of my coworkers the most important part is holding onto the healthcare coverage. For me, the most important thing is the wages,” said Marcel, who is struggling to keep up with his house payments and other bills.

Contract talks began in mid-November between 32BJ and the Hartford Area Cleaning Contractors Association. The breakthrough came Wednesday after top elected officials in the state began calling for the two sides to find common ground and avert a potentially disruptive and damaging strike. Governor Dannel Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, and U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and John Larson (CT-1) all issued statements in the past two days. On Wednesday afternoon, during a break in the contract talks, Blumenthal also visited the 32BJ offices, shook hands with workers and called again for a fair deal.

32BJ members clean some of Connecticut’s most important corporate centers and landmark buildings including the State Capitol, Travelers’ Tower and Wesleyan University.  In New Haven the list includes: City Hall, Long Wharf Maritime Center, One Century Tower, and the Connecticut Financial Center.

‪For more information, visit www.standwithbuildingworkers.org.

With 120,000 members in eight states, including 4,500 in Connecticut 32BJ is the largest property service union in the country.

# # #

U.S. Reps. Larson and DeLauro Call for Fair Agreement in Building Cleaners’ Contract Talks

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

 

MEDIA ADVISORY:  December 28th, 2011

 

For more information:

Maia Davis: 201-396-4444

mdavis@seiu32bj.org

 

Michael Allen: 212-388-3805

mallen@seiu32bj.org

 

Congressional Representatives Add to Calls for Fair Contract Between Building Cleaners and Employers

 

Below are statements issued today by the offices of Rep. John Larson (CT-01) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) regarding the contract talks between 32BJ SEIU, the union representing 2,000 building cleaners in the Hartford and New Haven areas, and their employers:

 

Larson Calls For Agreement on Building Cleaners Contract

HARTFORD – This morning Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) called for a new, fair agreement for the 2,000-plus building cleaners represented by local 32BJ of the Service Employees International union of the greater Hartford and New Haven areas.

With the last day of scheduled talks between the workers and the Hartford Area Cleaning Contractors Association scheduled for today, Congressman Larson urged both sides come to an agreement before the current contract expires on December 31.

“The thousands of members of local 32BJ provide an invaluable service to so many residents throughout the Capital Region,” Congressman Larson said. “These men and women deserve a new contract that will ensure that all of their members are paid a fair wage and have competitive healthcare benefits. I strongly urge both sides come to an agreement as a work stoppage, regardless of how long, would be extremely disruptive to our state’s economy, which is still undergoing a fragile recovery.”

###

DELAURO URGES COOPERATION IN LOCAL 32BJ CONTRACT DISPUTE

New Haven, CT - Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) issued the following statement today on the contract negotiations between the Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Hartford Area Cleaning Contractors Association:

“I urge both the SEIU Local 32BJ and the Hartford Area Cleaning Contractors Association to work together to avoid an unnecessary and damaging strike. I believe that an agreement can be reached that addresses the concerns of both sides, ensuring that the SEIU 32BJ workers receive fair wages and healthcare coverage and cleaning operations can be continued. With nearly 2,000 workers involved, it is critical that negotiations are successful. I urge both sides to work together to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to all parties and prevents damage to our local economies.”

###

Sen. Blumenthal Meets With Bldg Cleaners; Preparations for Possible Strike Underway

32BJ of the Service Employees International Union

 

For more information:

Maia Davis: 201-396-4444

mdavis@seiu32bj.org

chael Allen: 212-388-3805

mallen@seiu32bj.org

 

MEDIA ADVISORY:

For Today, Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

U.S. SENATOR TO MEET WITH BUILDING CLEANERS ON LAST DAY OF CONTRACT TALKS

- Preparations for Possible Strike Underway as Two Sides in Talks Meet Today –

One day after Governor Malloy, Senator Blumenthal and Hartford Mayor Segarra issued statements calling for a fair agreement between 2,000 building cleaners and their employers, the two sides are engaged in their last scheduled day of contract talks today in Hartford. But with the two sides far apart, cleaners represented by 32BJ SEIU have begun preparations for a possible strike including making picket signs and mapping out buildings that might be struck.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is dropping by the 32BJ office today to meet with building cleaners who are there for the contract talks.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY AT 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today:Blumenthal will be at the 32BJ office talking with workers. Update on the status of negotiations today will be available. Visuals include workers making signs and engaging in other strike preparations.

 

WHEN: 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

WHAT: Photo and interview possibilities with Blumenthal, workers and 32BJ union officials.

WHERE: 196 Trumbull Street, 4th Floor, 32BJ offices,  Hartford

WHO: Senator Blumenthal; building cleaners represented by 32BJ; Kurt Westby, Connecticut State Director for 32BJ

With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 4,500 in Connecticut, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country.

 

For more information, visit www.standwithbuildingworkers.org

# # #

3 Days

Only 3 days remain before the expiration of the contract covering thousands of office cleaners in Hartford & New Haven, Conn., as well as New York City.  These contracts expire on January 1, 2012 at 12:01 am.

We are also in contract talks for the Philadelphia Suburbs which expire on January 16, 2012 at 12:01 am.

We have a tentative agreement for New Jersey, Delaware Office Cleaners and Fairfield County, Conn. & Hudson Valley Office Cleaners.

What can you do?

 

Gov. Malloy and Other Top Elected Officials Call for Both Sides to Come Together on Building Cleaners’ Contract

Service Employees International Union

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Maia Davis: 201-396-4444

Michael O. Allen: 212-388-3805

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GOV. MALLOY AND OTHER TOP ELECTED OFFICIALS CALL FOR BOTH SIDES TO COME TOGETHER ON BUILDING CLEANERS’ CONTRACT

‪– Call for Fair Contract As Contract Expiration Date and Possibility of Strike Looms

Gov. Dannel Malloy, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra called on Tuesday for a fair agreement for the 2,000 building cleaners represented by local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union in the Hartford and New Haven area.

‪“The thousands of commercial building cleaners, whose labor provides a critically important service for many of our residents, face tremendous uncertainty,” Malloy said. “A strike like this has the potential to disrupt both the lives of the workers on the picket lines and the countless others who work in buildings that rely on the services they provide.  At a time when we are trying to reinvent our state’s economy, the possibility of a strike will only cause an unnecessary disruption.”

Sen. Blumenthal also urged both sides to reach common ground.

“The nearly 2,000 commercial building cleaners represented by SEIU 32BJ are simply seeking fair wages and healthcare coverage,” Blumenthal said. “A strike would deal damage to Connecticut’s economy, not only in its impact on workers, but the many people who use the buildings that rely on their services.”

A strike would affect the safety and cleanliness of several Hartford structures and “devastate these men and women who are already struggling in tough economic times,” Segarra added.

“These proud men and women are not seeking anything beyond what we all deserve: a fair wage, just treatment and the ability to provide for their families,” he said. “These fundamental rights provide the backbone of our country, and they are tied to the hopes of people who are pursuing the American dream.”

‪The officials weighed in one day before the last scheduled date of contract talks on December 28th between 32BJ and the Hartford Area Cleaning Contractors Association. With the contract set to expire at midnight on December 31, and the two sides still far apart, the union has begun preparing for a strike in case an agreement is not reached. ‪

‪“We agree with Governor Malloy, Senator Blumenthal and Mayor Segarra,” said Kurt Westby, Connecticut State Director for 32BJ. “A fair agreement is in everyone’s best interest. Our members are hardworking men and women struggling to support their families on wages below or barely above the poverty line. When they get paid decent wages, it is a win for our state’s working families, for taxpayers and for the economy.” ‪

32BJ members clean some of Connecticut’s most important corporate centers and landmark buildings including the State Capitol, Travelers’ Tower and Wesleyan University.

In New Haven the list includes: City Hall, Long Wharf Maritime Center, One Century Tower, and the Connecticut Financial Center. In New Britain, the buildings cleaned by 32BJ members include: Central Connecticut State University, the New Britain Courthouse, and the Department of Public Utility Control.

‪The commercial real estate industry in Hartford and New Haven is a $700 million industry, and the contract talks come at a time when the Hartford commercial property owners are set to reap substantial tax-break windfalls. Commercial buildings owners in downtown Hartford will likely see their taxes reduced by more than 20 percent and owners elsewhere in the city by 5 to 15 percent in 2012 because of commercial property revaluation combined with the elimination of a decades-old surcharge, according to reports. ‪

Building cleaners represented by 32BJ earn wages ranging from $11.00 an hour in New Haven to $12.25 in Suburban Hartford and $13.50 in downtown Hartford. In New Haven, most are given only part-time jobs. At 25 hours per week, their annual pay is $14,300, which is 38 percent below the federal poverty line for a family of four.

Last week, the 32BJ SEIU Bargaining Committee reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract covering more than 3,300 commercial office cleaners in Hudson Valley, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut that provides cleaners with an average yearly wage increase of 3% or a nearly 13% increase in wages over the life of the contract. The new contract covers 1,500 commercial cleaners who work in Fairfield County, including the University of Connecticut, the UBS Building, the RBS Building, Norwalk Community College, and Fairfield University. ‪

With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 4,500 in Connecticut, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country.

‪For more information, visit www.standwithbuildingworkers.org.

# # #

4 Days

Only 4 days remain before the expiration of the contract covering thousands of office cleaners in Hartford & New Haven, Conn.New Jersey, and New York City.  These contracts expire on January 1, 2012 at 12:01 am.

We are also in contract talks for the Philadelphia Suburbs which expire on January 16, 2012 at 12:01 am.

We have a tentative agreement for Delaware Office Cleaners and Fairfield County, Conn. & Hudson Valley Office Cleaners.

What can you do?

 

5 Days

Only 5 days remain before the expiration of the contract covering thousands of office cleaners in Hartford & New Haven, Conn.New Jersey, and New York City.  These contracts expire on January 1, 2012 at 12:01 am.

We are also in contract talks for the Philadelphia Suburbs which expire on January 16, 2012 at 12:01 am.

We have a tentative agreement for Delaware Office Cleaners and Fairfield County, Conn. & Hudson Valley Office Cleaners.

What can you do?