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.