On Wednesday, Houston janitors reached a tentative agreement with cleaning contractors that raises wages 12 percent over four years and beat back a key demand of the contractors that would have significantly weakened the union in Houston.
“Today we proved that when workers join together, we have strength. This is a huge victory for janitors and so many workers,” said Adriana Vasquez, a bargaining committee member and janitor who works for ISS at Chase Tower. “With this new contract, our families can live a little better.”
Houston area janitors had been on strike since July 10th. Janitors had been making only $8.35 an hour, and cleaning contractors had initially offered only a 50 cent raise over 5 years. According to the agreement, janitors’ wages will increase 12 percent to $9.35 an hour over four years—double the contractors’ initial proposal. The agreement was reached with Houston’s largest cleaning contractors. Janitors are continuing to bargain with Pritchard.
Cleaning contractors had been insisting on a provision that would have allowed them to underbid union standards in any building covered by the contract—a move that would have effectively reduced wages and benefits for thousands of janitors. However, we reached a compromise that protects wages and benefit gains that janitors have won since 2006. The changes will not adversely affect union janitors.
It’s thanks to supporters like you that we won this fight. Every phone call made to business leaders and every step marched with the janitors brought us closer to this victory.Thank you again for all you have done.