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Janitors to march on 25th Anniversary of "Justice for Janitors Day" during negotiations for a new union contract

Councilmember Nick Mosby and Communities United Members to join

6/18/2015, 2:15 p.m. | Updated on 6/18/2015, 2:15 p.m.
Rally: 4:15-4:45 PM, Light & Pratt Street, downtown Baltimore March: 4:45-5:15 PM, East on Pratt, North on Commerce; West on ...
Councilmember Nick Mosby and Communities United Members to Join march on 25TH Anniversary of JUSTICE ofr JANITORS DAY during negotiations for a new union contract. (Courtesy Photo)

— Janitors, who are now bargaining a new union contract will march through downtown Baltimore during tonight’s rush hour, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Justice for Janitors Day. Councilmember Nick Mosby and members of Communities United will join janitors who began negotiations on June 2nd for 10,500 commercial office cleaners in the DC area, including 700 throughout Baltimore, MD.

Approximately 90% are Latino and another estimated 10% are African-American. Under the contract expiring at midnight on October 15th, 2015, part-time cleaners in Baltimore, MD, earn $12.70 and full-time cleaners earn $13.20.

Full-time cleaners in all regions have employer-paid health care, including prescription drugs, dental, vision and life insurance. Part-time cleaners have life insurance and family dental benefits. All cleaners have paid vacation, holidays and sick days. As a result of a District of Columbia law, all D.C. cleaners have up to seven sick days.

32BJ’s contract, which expires at midnight on October 15th, 2015, covers 4,000 commercial cleaners in Washington, D.C., nearly 4,000 in Northern Virginia, over 1,500 in Montgomery County, Maryland and 700 in Baltimore. The Union is continuing negotiations with the Washington Service Contractors Association, which represents commercial cleaning contractors who serve the area’s commercial real estate industry.

On June 15th, 25 years ago, more than 400 commercial cleaners in Los Angeles joined forces in a peaceful rally for a fair contract and a union. Contractors had thrown out the union, cut pay to minimum wage and stripped janitors of all of their hard-earned benefits. As the workers locked arms to cross the street in L.A.’s Century City, they were beaten back by baton-wielding police officers. Thirty-eight marchers were wounded and arrested, and from that point on, June 15 has been memorialized as Justice for Janitors Day.

With more than 145,000 members in nine states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.