32BJ SEIU cleaners in Philadelphia secure historic post-pandemic contract


32BJ SEIU cleaners in Philadelphia secure historic post-pandemic contract
A landmark labour agreement was forged in Philadelphia this week, averting a potential strike by 2,000 commercial cleaners, members of 32BJ SEIU. The tentative deal, clinched just over a month after a thousand UNI Global Union unionists rallied in the heart of the city to support the cleaners, established a precedent during pandemic-induced hard times for commercial real estate. The union quickly reached additional agreements with employers in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, and is continuing to push for better pay and conditions for 100,000 cleaners in cities throughout the country.
The Philadelphia cleaners will receive a 18.6% pay raise within the life of the four-year contract, substantial bonuses during periods of soaring inflation, and increased retirement contributions, among several other benefits. Similar increases were negotiated for over 10,000 workers in cities like Pittsburgh, Washington D.C.
Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, said:
“This new agreement is not just a contract but a real victory. We rallied with 32BJ SEIU janitors in Philadelphia during our congress with a message that we will rise together. This win in Philadelphia and beyond shows that rising together is not just a slogan but a reality. We rise together and we win together!”
The union’s contract in Philadelphia was set to expire on 15 October, and a strike loomed for buildings in the core of Center City.
Tiffany Cherry, a 32BJ Cleaner and Bargaining Committee Member, stated, “Coming together and winning a contract that permits us to provide for our children and parallels inflation is a substantial achievement, especially in these times.”
The agreement builds on decades of organizing and activity by cleaners in the region, enhance working conditions and remuneration for the janitors, such as maintaining employer-paid family health coverage, instating an additional paid holiday, and assuring all-encompassing sick and disability coverage for all members.


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