Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday)

Janitors in SEIU Local 1 approve new contract

Union: 3-year deal includes 15% wage increase, improved health care and retirement benefits


The union representi­ng janitors who clean city and suburban office buildings ratified a new contract Saturday for more than 8,000 janitorial workers.

Service Employees Internatio­nal Union Local 1 hailed the three-year deal as the best contract for janitorial workers in its history. It was approved a day before the current contract was set to expire.

The union secured benefits it had demanded during a rally this past week in the Loop. A 15% wage increase — the largest in the commercial market for SEIU Local 1 — highlights the new contract, along with employer-paid health care and better retirement benefits, the union said.

“Today is a historic day for the Local 1 janitors who fought for weeks to ensure they got the contract they deserved,” Local 1 President Genie Kastrup said in a statement. “Thousands of commercial janitors valiantly worked through the pandemic while everyone else stayed home … Local 1 janitors demonstrat­ed what a worker-led movement should strive to be and I am so proud of their fight, this victory and the future.”

About 3,000 janitors who clean buildings including Willis Tower, Hancock Tower, Merchandis­e Mart and other iconic sites, were covered in a contract with the Building Owners and Management Associatio­n of Chicago (BOMA/Chicago).

Another 5,000 janitors who clean buildings across the suburbs were included in a contract with separate contractor­s, the union said.

A representa­tive for the BOMA/Chicago could not be reached for comment.

Juneteenth was added as a paid holiday, and additional personal and sick days were added.

Janitors under the BOMA/Chicago agreement will receive $1.50-an-hour raises in the first year, then 75 cent raises the following two years. Suburban janitors will get a $1.25 pay increase the first year, a 75 cent raise the second year and a $1.20 raise in the final year.

Janitors’ current contract wages had fallen behind inflation by $1.91 an hour, the union previously said. SEIU Local 1 started discussing pay raises with the BOMA/Chicago last month.

“As part of the negotiatio­n team, I am proud of the contract we fought so hard to win. This is a strong and fair contract that would not be possible without us standing together — suburban and downtown janitors together,” Local 1 suburban janitor Magdalena Muñoz said in a statement.

The trade associatio­n’s members include about 240 buildings and 170 companies that provide commercial building services. The union’s janitors service about 85% of Cook County’s commercial office buildings.

SEIU represents 50,000 workers throughout the Midwest, including janitors, security officers, airport workers, higher education faculty, food service workers and others.

 ?? ?? Janitors who clean downtown and suburban office buildings have ratified a three-year contract.
Janitors who clean downtown and suburban office buildings have ratified a three-year contract.

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