Office cleaners union announces deal to avert CT, NY strikes

December 23, 2019 GMT

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — The union representing more than 3,000 Connecticut and New York janitors reached a tentative contract agreement Monday with cleaning contractors, averting a planned strike in the new year, it announced.

Members of the 32BJ SEIU bargaining unit, whose members clean large office buildings in Connecticut’s Fairfield County and the lower Hudson Valley of New York, reached the four-year deal during an afternoon meeting at a Stamford hotel.

The tentative deal increases wages, maintains employer-paid benefits and includes clear language on prohibiting sexual harassment, as well as other rule changes, said Lenore Friedlaender, assistant to the president of 32BJ SEIU.

“This agreement will make a real difference in the lives of our members and is reasonable for the employers in the region,” Friedlaender said in a written statement.

Negotiations between the union and the contractors began Oct. 30. The janitors later voted unanimously Dec. 12 and 14 to authorize a strike after Dec. 31 if an agreement could not be reached.

Monday’s announcement comes after votes were held in three Connecticut cities — Hartford, New Haven and New Britain — on Saturday to avoid a strike and approve a new union contract.

This latest settlement marks the last in a series covering more than 75,000 32BJ commercial cleaners on the East Coast this fall, the union said.