NEGOTIATIONS RESUME AS HOUSTON JANITORS STRIKE NEARS SECOND MONTH

At In These Times:

Three weeks after hundreds of Houston janitors went on strike, janitorial contractors and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 returned to the negotiating table on Thursday. But the bargaining concluded Friday without a settlement or an end to the strike.

As I’ve reported, negotiations over janitors’ third union contract broke down at the end of May. Following a series of June work stoppages, hundreds began walking off the job on July 10. Their cause caught fire nationwide, sparking a series of high-profile demonstrations, solidarity strikes and statements of support.

Wages are a key sticking point. SEIU proposed an increase from $8.35 to $10.00 over three years, but management’s “last, best, and final” offer in May raised wages only fifty cents over five years. “The union’s proposal makes their lives a little better, while [management’s] proposal pushes the janitors deeper into poverty,” SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff wrote in a July 30 letter.

Also at issue: a clause in the janitors’ current contract that allows contractors to bid on some accounts at lower wage and benefit rates and then bring compensation up to the contract’s standard over a three year period. SEIU says that while the clear intent of the language was to apply only to bidding on non-union accounts, contractors are now claiming it applies to union accounts as well. Balanoff’s letter calls this “a blatant attempt to destroy the Houston janitors’ union.”

Here’s the rest.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s