Twin Cities janitors reach agreement after negotiations following 24-hour strike in February addressing wages and workload

April 2, 2016
Andy Rathburn for Twin Cities Pioneer Press
news photo
Minneapolis-St. Paul janitors have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract following months of negotiations and a 24-hour strike last month.
 
The union representing about 4,000 janitors across the Twin Cities announced that an agreement on a new four-year contract was reached between janitors and their employers after a 12-hour bargaining session that ended early Monday morning.
 
“With the tentative agreement, which needs to be approved by the membership, janitors won their largest wage increases in decades, concrete steps to address the workload crisis facing janitors, improvements to their healthcare, and many other gains,” the union, Service Employees International Union Local 26, said in a statement.
 
The agreement calls for the largest wage increases for the janitors in more than 20 years, according to the union.
 
More than 60 percent of janitors would immediately get raises to more than $15 an hour, with full-time janitors reaching $16.42 by the end of the 4-year contract — a 12.3 percent increase. Part-time employees would see the same 12.3 percent increase from current wages, according to the union.
 
The agreement includes giving part-time janitors full health care benefits and paid sick days, and health care benefits would improve for full-time employees. Workload and job security protections would also be added, the union said.
 
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Contract Cleaners Association, which represents the companies employing the janitors, was unable to discuss the details of the settlement, but believes it is “in the mutual best interest of the employees, the employers and the customers we serve,” attorney John Nesse, chief negotiator for the association, said in a statement Monday.
 
“I believe that everyone involved is pleased to have avoided a second strike,” Nesse said. “And we are pleased that this process has concluded with an agreement and a hand shake.”
 
The deal was reached after 18 negotiation sessions.
 
In February, the union janitors, who clean offices at most major Twin Cities corporations and smaller offices and schools, went on strike for 24 hours throughout the metro region.