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City Cleaners Win 16% Wage Hike and Fully Employer-Paid Family Health Care
Date:10/16/2007

New Contract Rolls Back Health Care Premium Sharing, Averts a Strike at Philadelphia Buildings

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Local 32BJ Bargaining Committee today announced agreement on a tentative four-year contract covering more than 2,300 Philadelphia commercial property service workers that provides a nearly 16% pay increase and ends premium sharing for family health care. The contract covers cleaners, engineers and building maintenance workers at nearly 70 commercial office buildings, including Centre Square, Commerce Square, the Blue Cross Building, and Cira Centre.

"This $480 million contract provides real gains for property service workers that will help them better support their families and their community," said Wayne MacManiman, Local 32BJ Mid-Atlantic Director. "Most importantly, by rolling back an unaffordable premium for family health care, cleaners can actually afford to take their kids to the doctor when they get sick."

The tentative agreement will provide an additional $23 million in health care coverage -- a 42% increase from the previous contract. Further, the contract provides a 20% increase in pension benefits and significantly raises wages for temporary workers.

Local 32BJ reached the four-year agreement with Building Owners Labor Relations, Inc. (BOLR), an organization representing Philadelphia's major commercial office building owners, managers, and cleaning companies, at midnight, just as the previous agreement expired. Union membership and the BOLR Board of Directors must still ratify the agreement.

"The contract is an important victory for Local 32BJ members in Philadelphia who are united with 32BJ members from Hartford, Connecticut to Washington, D.C. in this campaign," said Mike Fishman, Local 32BJ President. "As a result, Philadelphia cleaners will finally receive health care benefits that are on par with cleaners in New York and throughout the region."

"Family health care is a huge victory for me and my co-workers," said Kirk Shelton, a cleaner at 833 Chestnut Street. "And the wage hikes will help me to start saving for my future."

Local 32BJ began contract negotiations on September 7th. Philadelphia is the first district in Local 32BJ's six state jurisdiction -- from Hartford, Connecticut to Washington, D.C. -- to negotiate new commercial contract this fall. Bargaining for a new commercial contract in New York City begins next week, followed by similar negotiations in New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland. Altogether, nearly 50,000 commercial members are united in a campaign to secure new contracts that raise wage and benefit standards.

With more than 85,000 members in six states, including 5,000 in Philadelphia, Local 32BJ is the largest property services union in the country.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Julie Karant: 646-584-9001

Kate Ferranti: 917-968-7853


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SOURCE SEIU Local 32BJ
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