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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cincinnati Janitors: SEIU Contract Gets Raises from $28 Per Day To $69

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Details of the just-inked labor contract that the Service Employees International Union obtained for 1,200 janitors who clean Cincinnati office buildings show the workers will have a dramatic improvement in wages by 2012 under the new accord.

The pay goes from $6.85 an hour to $9.80 an hour, based on a seven-hour workday. A janitor will make about $350 a week. Still, not much. But it is far superior to the four-hour days and the $150 weekly paychecks that are not uncommon today.

The contract, the first ever in Cincinnati, goes into effect in October. Union officials have now posted a press release about the resolution of a threatened strike against eight Cincinnati-area cleaning companies.

The labor movement has lost members and momentum over the past three decades (or longer), but this kind of news -- if it gets out and read by stressed out U.S. workers -- might offer hope of rejuvenation. It shows that organizing and sticking together remain powerful tools in negotiations over wages and working conditions.


  1. Assuming the higher costs get built into rents (of course they will), then it will be another handicap downtown will have to overcome in competition with the burbs.

    I have sympathy for the janitors and the part-time/no benefit workforce. These are the very people hurt by illegal immigration (perhaps even illegals cleaning suburban office buildings?), which is starting to come home to roost in a big way (I have a story about that mere miles from you if you want to do the dirty work -- I can't for a variety of reasons). The pool of relatively unskilled workers exceeds the demand. Employers can keep wages law.

    Maybe this explains why SEIU and org labor is OK with illegal immigration now. They see underpaid low-skilled workers as their best chance for organizing -- as long as they stay underpaid, which illegal immigration helps to ensure.

  2. Bizzyblog --

    Re: the burbs. Then the SEIU will have to organize the burbs, too.

    One thing about janitor jobs -- they cannot be outsourced.

    You raise good points about illegals. I do favor controlling the board and immigration. Sadly, I have no great ideas on how to do it. Almost 35 years ago I used to cover this debate in the Florida legislature, where native migrants wanted rules for the orange groves to keep out illegal aliens who were taking their jobs. There were ID measures, and penalties on farmers. None of it seemed to work because the farmers who wanted to hire illegals always figured out how to get around it.