Twin Cities janitors with SEIU Local 26 reach agreement, avert strike that was set to begin days ahead | KSTP.com

Twin Cities janitors with SEIU Local 26 reach agreement, avert strike that was set to begin days ahead

Twin Cities janitors with SEIU Local 26 reach agreement, avert strike that was set to begin days ahead Photo: KSTP/Jim O'Connell

Updated: March 07, 2020 10:22 AM

The 4,000 commercial janitors with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 reached a Tentative Agreement with their employers that averted an open-ended strike that was set to begin Monday.

According to a release, the full Tentative Agreement has been shared to the members, but the highlighted portions in the 4-year agreement include:

  • Wage increases of $2.20 over the course of the contract for full-time workers, with some part-time workers going from $11.12 to $16 over the life of the contract.
  •  Moving all full-time workers to six paid sick days by the second year of the contract.
  •  Won funding towards a Labor-Management Cooperation Fund that will work towards a green education initiative.
  •  Reduces cost of health insurance for individuals and families.
  • Incorporates sexual harassment policies into contract.

Elia Starkweather, a janitor in downtown Minneapolis and one of the hundreds of janitors who took part in the bargaining, shared how proud janitors were to stick together and win such a strong contract. 

Twin Cities janitors planning to strike next week over wages, sick time

“I am so proud we stuck together and won these important gains because we went on strike and were ready to go on an open-ended strike, we were able to win the largest wage increases we’ve seen for janitors, an increase in sick days and the exciting green education program,” said Starkweather. “Our campaign slogan was ‘Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow,’ and I believe because we were so united we really were able to win an agreement that will build a better tomorrow for thousands of janitors, our families and our planet.”

Twin Cities janitors continue strike

The 4,000 commercial janitors join the 2,000 security officers who won a strong contract in February. That means 6,000 of the 8,000 SEIU Local 26 members have now settled their contracts, leaving retail janitors and airport passenger service workers as the two biggest groups still working to reach deals. 

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