Janitors’ New Contract Improves Jobs, Strengthens Houston’s Economy
Janitors Approve Agreement That Will Pump Additional $3.6 Million into Local Economy Over Two Years
At a time when Houston’s wealthy corporations are making record profits yet working people are struggling to make ends meet, janitors won a new contract that improves jobs for working families and strengthens our economy. With wage increases and improved benefits, the agreement will pump an additional $3.6 million into the local economy over the next two years.
“We stood together and won fair raises and protected our health care,” says Austroberta Rodriguez, who has been a janitor in Houston for nearly 32 years. “With each contract, we’re winning what we need to provide for our families and we’re building a better future for Houston.”
More than 600 janitors and their family members attended the contract ratification vote today, where janitors voted to approve their new union contract by an overwhelming margin. The two-year agreement, which goes into effect upon ratification and expires on May 31, 2012, provides fair wage increases and protects health care coverage for 3,200 working families.
Janitors won several key improvements:
- Wages will increase 8% to $1.10 above minimum wage – from $7.75/hour to $8.35 in 2012.
- Janitors will see a 32% increase in contributions from their employers towards maintaining their individual health care coverage.
- Janitors will receive a $1.15/hour total increase, including wages and benefits – a 12% overall increase.
Since 2006, janitors—who were paid just $20 a day before they formed a union—have continued to lift themselves out of poverty by working with their employers to transform janitorial jobs into good jobs that can support a family.
The janitors’ victory comes after nearly 2,000 janitors committed to strike if necessary. After three days of negotiations, the agreement was reached with the city’s six largest cleaning contractors—ABM, Pritchard, ISS/Sanitors, GCA, UBM and Aztec. A coalition of more than 100 political, faith and community leaders supported the janitors’ efforts by calling on business leaders to work with the janitors to reach a fair agreement without the chaos of 2006.