Janitors’ contract falls short of Columbus, Cincy

The 1,500 local janitors covered under a new union agreement ratified Saturday will earn at least $9 an hour by 2012, less than similar pacts signed in recent months in Ohio.

Like the Indianapolis contract, the Ohio pacts end in 2012. Under contracts negotiated by Washington, D.C.-based Service Employees International Union, the minimum for that year is $9.80 in Cincinnati and $10 in Columbus.

Indianapolis janitors covered by the contract currently earn an average of $6.70.

However, union spokeswoman Leslie Mendoza Kamstra noted that Indianapolis janitors made less than their counterparts in Ohio prior to their respective contracts.

In a release issued Saturday, the union said the contract will take affect May 1, and includes incremental wage increases of at least $1.50 an hour by 2012.

The contract also requires janitorial shifts to last at least seven hours, an increase from the average of 4.5 hours the staffers were working.

The contract covers Indianapolis’ five largest cleaning companies: 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.

Under the pact, the cleaning companies are not allowed to cut staff but can reduce workers through attrition.

Starting in 2011, the companies covered by the contract also must provide health coverage, with employee premiums of $20 per month, and provide six paid holidays per year and paid vacation time.

The agreement, announced Thursday, followed three years of protests in front of prominent downtown office buildings.

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