By an overwhelming margin, Columbus janitors approved a new union contract on Saturday that protects full time hours and raises wages for nearly 1,000 janitors. The contract, which goes into effect January 1st, gives hope to the millions of low wage workers who work hard, but still struggle to provide for their families.
“We proved that when workers join together, we have strength. This is a huge victory for all hard working janitors,” said Claude Smith a bargaining committee member and janitor who works for ABM. “With this new contract, our families can live a little better.”
Cleaning companies’ initial demands would have pushed janitors further into poverty by eliminating full-time hours and freezing wages. But janitors fought back with support from religious leaders, elected officials and community groups in Columbus and around the country. And the y won—the agreement reached ensures full-time work for a majority of janitors and secures a $.20 wage increase in 2014. This modest increase will help workers and their families continue on the pathway out of poverty.
Columbus janitors clean the offices of some of the wealthiest corporations in the country. At a time when big corporations are posting record profits at the expense of hard-working people, janitors’ efforts are helping restore the balance in our economy and secure the good middle class jobs our communities need. This crucial victory is a win for us all.