Cleaning workers vote to avert strike, approve new contract

December 22, 2019 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Hundreds of building cleaning workers in Connecticut unanimously voted to avoid a strike and approve a new union contract.

Votes to avert a strike were held on Saturday in Hartford, New Haven and New Britain, according to officials with Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.

The agreement covers 2,400 workers in a region that also includes parts of New London. They clean 170 properties, including insurance company headquarters, malls, factories, universities and downtown office towers.

The four-year agreement includes wage increases and protects employer-paid health insurance. Wages will increase by $2.10 in New Haven and by $2 in Hartford and its suburbs, officials said.

“We should be proud of what we have achieved as members of 32BJ, standing and fighting together as one,” bargaining committee member Ciro Gutierrez said at one of the meetings.

More than 500 janitors in Hartford and New Haven voted on Dec. 14 to call a strike if a fair agreement wasn’t reached with local contractors. Negotiations between the union and contractors began last month.

The bargaining committee and the contractors will meet on Monday for the final scheduled negotiated session.