Contracts are expiring in December this year for 6000 janitors and Security officers in MN.
Union Contract negotiations are our opportunity to improve our wages and working conditions with the companies. To understand what impact we can have, look at our history in the last 10 years. Most janitors in the twin cities in 2002 made $8.40/hour, working part time with no health insurance. Security officers at that time had no union, and often made minimum wage, around $7/hour.
Janitors organized, hundreds marched through downtown, and after months of union contract negotiations with the companies they voted to strike two different times in 2006 and 2009. As a result, over the last 8 years the janitorial companies agreed to increase wages to what we have today: $13.42/hour, with 8 hour full time positions in all large buildings, and with individual health insurance for $30/month.
Security officers organized and won the union downtown in 2004, but the companies refused to raise their standards significantly, so the workers went out on a 1 day strike in 2007. The companies came back to the table and agreed to 50 cent raises each year for 5 years, bringing security officers downtown to about the same pay rates as the janitors have today. Security officers in the suburbs just joined our union late last year, and have begun negotiations to raise their standards as well.