Minneapolis, MN – After two months without a contract, hundreds of hours of negotiations, and a one-day strike, today SEIU Local 26 janitors and security officers voted to approve new contracts which will help strengthen the middle class in the Twin Cities.
“This is a major victory for working families,” said Margarita Del Angel Lopez, a janitor who works at the IDS Center in Minneapolis. “We work hard to support our families, we fought hard against cuts that would have destroyed thousands of jobs. This shows that when we stand together, we can move forward together. These are the best contracts in the history of the local service sector industry.”
“Suburban security officers have been working for years without a raise,” said Fred Anthony II, a security officer from St Paul. “Some of them haven’t had a raise in up to eight or 10 years. This is the first time they have guaranteed contracts, guaranteed health care, guaranteed job security. It helps bring them out of poverty.”
More than 6,000 janitors and security officers won $1.20 raises over three years, which will pump $48 million into local communities. They also protected stable, full-time positions for thousands of workers. In addition, janitors and security officers secured better employer-based healthcare coverage, which will enable workers to access affordable coverage, rather than be forced to rely on public programs paid for by taxpayers.
This marks the first contract for 1,000 suburban security officers who formed their union with SEIU Local 26 in January 2011 – in addition to getting raises for the first time in years, they gained employer-based healthcare coverage for the first time ever.
“So often, we see the rich get richer, while the rest of us continue falling behind,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “Seeing working people win is a very important thing. It’s a beautiful thing. And so congratulations to all of our members who worked hard for this win. Together, we are working toward a better future for all of Minnesota, where people who work for a living are able to make a living. We showed that the labor movement is alive and well in Minnesota.”
SEIU Local 26 janitors reached a tentative agreement last (more…)
On Friday, over 100 of our elected bargaining committee members met with both security and janitorial companies, before our deadline for a new contract. After more than 31 hours of marathon negotiations through the night, the janitorial companies agreed to a great new contract including:
Next Step :
Ratification Vote This is a big step forward for office janitors! As a result of the tentative agreement, our strike is cancelled, and we will have the member ratification vote this Saturday, March 2nd, 11am at the Local 26 hall. Find out more about the ratification event here.
Our bargaining committee unanimously recommends a YES vote.
Below are questions and answers about a strike over Unfair Labor Practices:
The companies’ proposal on January 8th would replace hundreds of full-time positions with part-time positions by changing Article 13, which sets requirements for the number of full-time positions in each building. Before we won Article (10 years ago),almost all janitorial work in the Twin Cities was part-time. Now most janitors are Full-Time and make $13.42 per hour. If your position becomes part-time,it means you would lose almost $2.50 per hour ! (The rate would be $10.95, plus you would lose your health insurance,vacation, and sick days.) How would the companies’ proposal affect your building ?See below:
1-Large Buildings Downtown(500,000 square feet or greater) 1 in 4 positions would become part time.
2-Medium Buildings Downtown(250,000 square feet or greater ) 1 in 2 positions would become part time.
3- Any Buildings in the Suburbus, all positions would become part-time.
~ $ 0 Pay Raise, and going backwards up to $2.50/hr:
The companies proposed no raise for 2013. Those who are cut from full-time to part-time would lose $2.50 per hour. Pay for full-time janitors in medium or small downtown buildings (less than 500,000 sq ft) would also drop a dollar per hour to $12.35. The companies tried to convince us that these wage cuts would just be for new employees, not the current janitors. But what do you think will happen to your job if suddenly all of the new hires make dollars less than you do? The spokesperson for the companies even acknowledged that other companies would try to undercut each other with these lower wage rates.
After five full days of negotiations, the companies still can’t seem to get themselves together. At the last meeting on December 27th, the companies didn’t come until 1:30pm (we started at 10:00am) and then at the last minute they announced they didn’t have the economic presentation they told us they would bring! We still are waiting for them to agree to a single one of the 23 articles where janitors proposed improvements.
|Wage for full time janitors per hour 2012||
|Health Insurance contribution by company per employee per hour||
|Pension contribution per employee per hour||
|Total Cost to company per employee||
The companies have claimed before that the rent tenants pay are much higher in other cities, so they can afford to pay them more. The only problem is … the average rent is actually higher in Minneapolis ($24/sq ft) than in Pittsburg ($21/sq ft)!
Over the course of four negotiation sessions since November, the companies have just gone in circles. They still haven’t agreed to a single article we proposed, but they are starting to see that the longer they stall, the angrier and more determined we get about:
Protecting our jobs: When the companies proposed using supervisors and sub-contractors to do our work, our committee stood its ground, and we counter-proposed a ban on all subcontracting and temp work. Janitors gave many powerful examples of how supervisors and temp workers cheated union janitors out of hours.
Respect : Everyone knows grievances take too long. Janitors proposed speeding up the process by giving the companies clearer deadlines and penalties if they don’t respond quickly. The companies said no, but the committee won’t back down.
On November 28th your elected union bargaining committee presented the companies with our proposal to move our industry forward. In the second meeting on December 12th the companies gave their written responses to the janitors’ proposals. The companies refused to agree on any of our proposed articles, including those addressing critical issues like workload and vacation.
Unlocking a Better Future for MN:
Proposed Principles for our Union Contract Negotiations
More than 7000 janitors, security officers, airport service workers, and retail cleaners are standing together to improve our sub-contracted industries. We stand up not only for ourselves, but for all sub-contracted workers, who more and more are the face of the economy that the 1% have forced on us. Will we take the 1%’s road to poverty, or unlock the door to a better future in Minnesota? Many of us will begin negotiations for new union contracts in the next few weeks. Based on months of member meetings and surveys, we have developed the following list of principles for our negotiations:
And this video of our contract kickoff last month!