CFL News
April 09, 2012

Janitors reach tentative agreement, hope to avert strike

The union representing 13,000 janitors in Chicago has reached a tentative agreement with downtown building owners and now hopes to reach a similar agreement covering the suburbs.

The janitors’ contract was set to expire this Easter Sunday. With no agreement reached yet, suburban cleaning contractors extended the three year contract by one more day and will continue bargaining on Monday. Janitors authorized a strike last week to win the wages they need for their families. Suburban janitors make about half the estimated annual cost of living for a small family in the Chicagoland area.

The Local 1 bargaining committee did reach an agreement in principle for downtown commercial building janitors with the Chicago Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). The City’s schools, airports and administrative buildings have always followed BOMA standards in their janitorial contracts. The union cannot release details until they share the offer with their members next weekend.

“We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement in principle with BOMA. But our suburban janitors are struggling to stay out of poverty. They need a decent wage increase and health care for their families,” says SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. “Our members are willing to do whatever it takes to win better jobs.”

SEIU Local 1 unites 50,000 property service workers in the central United States, including janitors, security officers and residential doormen.