SEIU Local 1
Press Release

Downtown janitors unanimously ratify new contract agreement

Downtown janitors today unanimously ratified a new contract agreement with the companies that clean the vast majority of Milwaukee’s large-scale commercial office buildings.

By - Aug 4th, 2012 02:03 pm

Downtown janitors today unanimously ratified a new contract agreement with the companies that clean the vast majority of Milwaukee’s large-scale commercial office buildings.

The new contract maintains wages for about 500 workers while preserving a modest health insurance package, and comes at a critical time for Milwaukee’s unionized janitors, represented by Service Employees International Union, Local 1. They are pitched in heated battle against poverty-wage, non-union cleaning companies and the irresponsible building owners – such as Stewart Wangard of Wangard Partners – bringing them back into the downtown market.

“Protecting the health insurance was the most important thing for us, and we’re satisfied that we were able to do that in this agreement,” said union leader Maria Sada, a janitor at Federal Plaza and a member of the contract bargaining team.

“This is what we’ve fought so hard for the last 20 years, and we’re determined to keep fighting,” she added. “We can’t afford to lose good jobs in Milwaukee, not now, not anytime.”

Contract notes:

  • The agreement preserves janitors’ employer-paid health care for the next 16 months and contains a wage re-opener in Nov. 2013 to discuss health insurance issues.
  • The average unionized janitor downtown makes $11 an hour, roughly $2 more than a non-union janitor.
  • With health insurance, janitors earn about half the average U.S. household income for a family of two (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Bargaining for the employers were American Building Maintenance (ABM), Modern Maintenance, Performance Clean, Regency Janitorial and Somers Building Maintenance (SBM). Other employer signatories to the tentative agreement include Harvard Maintenance and LBR Janitorial.

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