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32BJ Reaches Contract Deal for Office Cleaners in Philly, Baltimore, DC

October 20, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union announced Oct. 15 that it had reached a tentative contract agreement with the trade group representing Philadelphia office-building owners. The deal was reached a few hours before midnight, the strike deadline triggered when the old contract covering 3,000 building-service workers expired. Neither 32BJ nor Building Operators Labor Relations would give details of the four-year agreement. Union spokesperson Julie Blust told the Philadelphia Inquirer that members would vote on it in the next two weeks. The BOLR, 32BJ said, had initially demanded a freeze on wages and pensions and a $300-a-month charge for health insurance. Workers currently average $17 to $19 an hour and don’t pay premiums for health insurance. The union argued that cuts were unfair when the about 120 office buildings its members work at are some of the city’s most successful properties, including the Comcast towers. “Center City is on the rise,” said Vincent Jones, 56, of West Philadelphia. “We just want it to trickle down to us.” 32BJ also announced it had reached a similar last-minute deal Oct. 15 covering 10,500 commercial office cleaners at more than 1,200 office buildings in Washington, its suburbs, and Baltimore. Read more

October 20, 2019

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