June 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Houston, TX – The union representing 3,200 janitors here reached a tentative contract agreement with four major building-services contractors early June 1, blocking attempts by the contractors to exclude two-thirds of the janitors.
Service Employees International Union Texas said the four-year deal “will protect union standards,” includes “significant” raises, and will add paid sick days. The Houston Area Contractors Association, which represents the cleaning companies that hire the janitors, had wanted it to exclude most buildings outside the Interstate 610 loop that surrounds downtown, but backed off after the janitors voted to authorize a strike. The deal, which SEIU members will vote on June 4, covers workers at New York-based ABM, Miami-based Harvard, San Antonio-based ISS US, and GCA Services Group from Cleveland. It might set the pattern for a contract at Sodexo and Compass, two other companies with union janitors. Houston janitors won their first union contract in 2006, and currently get $9.35 an hour, a week of paid vacation, and health-care benefits if they work more than 30 hours a week. Read more