Janitors' union negotiates contract

April 18, 2008
The first citywide union contract has been struck following negotiations between 1,500 janitors and five big companies that clean local businesses.

The Service Employees International Union plans a ratification vote tomorrow at Central Christian Church in Indianapolis, the union announced this morning.

Leslie Mendoza Kamstra, of the SEIU's Indianapolis office, said she could not disclose details of the proposed contract until members had a chance to review terms, which were reached late last night.

"I can say the bargaining committee is very excited about it," Kamstra said.

The union said it did not have immediate plans to start talks with other cleaning companies. But, Kamstra said, "there's room for expansion."

The Washington, D.C.-based group did not disclose wage and benefit details of the Indianapolis contract.

The contract covers 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 1.9 million-member SEIU has been seeking an Indianapolis contract for at least three years, at times with support from local church leaders.

Contracts negotiated last year in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, 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.

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.
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