May 11, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Los Angeles, CA – Janitors in California ratified a new collective bargaining agreement on May 2, the day they had set to go on strike. The deal covers janitors represented by SEIU–United Service Workers West in Los Angeles, Orange County, Silicon Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area, including those who work at Google and Facebook.
While the agreement will raise wages, a key issue is that it includes procedures for workers to report sexual harassment and assault, the union said. Marisol Rivera, vice president of the Orange County local, has estimated that 70% percent of female janitors it represents have been harassed or assaulted by supervisors. “It’s a good day for the hard-working janitors who mop, clean and take out the trash in the buildings of California’s most successful businesses, and tech companies,” SEIU-USWW President David Huerta said in a statement. “But today’s victory is only the beginning. Immigrant women janitors often work long night shifts, alone in large buildings and are vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault.” Read more