Janitors union to start negotiations today

February 21, 2008
The Service Employees International Union, which has organized janitors in Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, and now Indianapolis, begins negotiations today on behalf of 1,500 local janitors after years of contentious organizing efforts.

Companies participating in the Indianapolis negotiations are ABM Industries Inc. of San Francisco; Group Services France of Paris; Mitch Murch's Maintenance Management Co. of St. Louis; Bulldog Maintenance Co. of Hazleton, Penn.; and Somers Building Maintenance of McClellan, Calif.

The union, headquartered in Washington, D.C., claims 1.9 million members.

Indianapolis is represented by Local 3, whose main offices are in Cincinnati, but also operates in Detroit, and Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus.

Contracts negotiated last year in the Ohio cities included stepped raises and assurances of additional hours available to work. Janitors who worked four hours a day will be moved up to seven hours a shift.

The janitors also received health insurance at a cost to the janitors of $20 a month.

Cincinnati wages will rise from $7.05 an hour to $9.80 by 2012. In Columbus, wages are to increase from $7.65 to $10 by 2012.

The union has raised the ire of Indianapolis janitorial firms, building owners and managers with its protests sometimes accompanied by an inflatable rat.

The SEIU has worked closely with a local clergymen and women who contend that janitors are not paid a living wage. A dozen clergy planned to pray at Monument Circle today that the negotiations succeed in boosting pay and benefits for the janitors.
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