Friday, December 18, 2015

Hundreds of Janitors Rally in Stamford for a Fair Contract

As December 31 Deadline Nears, Janitors Say Employers’ Proposals Fall Short of a Fair Deal

STAMFORD, N.Y.— Hundreds of office building cleaners took to the streets of Stamford today to rally for good jobs as the deadline approaches on the current contract between 3,500 local cleaners and the Hudson Valley/Fairfield County Contractors Association.

“We’re not going backwards, we’re going forwards!” exclaimed Alberto Bernardez, 32BJ Assistant Supervisor in Connecticut, in front of Government Center in Stamford late this afternoon. Within a few minutes, some 200 janitors carrying signs and blowing whistles were turning his words into deeds, marching through downtown Stamford at rush hour to raise their voices for a fair contract by December 31. 

In negotiations since November 18, the contractors have not yet proposed the kind of fair wage increases or the necessary support of health benefits, pensions and dedicated sick days that the janitors need.

“We have fought hard to organize the union and get the benefits we have,” said Leonel Arenas, a Stamford cleaner and member of the bargaining committee. “We’re not going to surrender our benefits or our commitment to a fair wage increase, and today we’re out here to let the contractors know there’s little time left to accept that!”

The workers were also warmed on the drizzly evening by supporting words from State Senator Carlo Leone and State Representatives Terry Adams and Chris Perone.

“I stand behind these workers’ demand for a good contract, with fair wages and benefits,” said Senator Leone. “Stamford workers should make a wage that allows them to survive in our city.”

Stamford cleaners currently earn a wage of $14.80 an hour, and work at approximately 240 office buildings and facilities in the area, including the BLT Financial Center, the Royal Bank of Scotland Building and University of Connecticut. The negotiations are part of a series being held across the East Coast this fall, covering over 70,000 office building janitors.

With more than 145,000 members in 11 states and Washington DC, including 4,000 members in Connecticut, 32BJ is the largest building service workers union in the country.

32 BJ Press Release - Posted by Tom Connolly