Chicago Janitors, Building Owners and Cleaning Companies Invest in Good Jobs and Help Grow Our Economy

April 10, 2015

Janitors Approve Contract Agreement Benefiting Both their Families and Communities; Narrow Wage Gap between Downtown and the Suburbs

CHICAGO –By an overwhelming margin, Chicagoland SEIU Local 1 janitors approved a new union contract that preserves their ability to support their families and allows them access to health care. As part of this settlement with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and suburban contractors, nearly 10,000 janitors and their families won wage increases and protected fully employer-paid healthcare over the next three years. The janitors were also able to narrow the suburban- downtown wage gap.

“These economic gains will directly benefit our region’s economy for years to come, helping hardworking families build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1. “Local 1 is leading the way for all working people – when you stand up together and bargain collectively, we all win.”

The new three year janitors’ union contract, which goes into effect April 6th, guarantees:

  • Annual wage increases for janitors, which will allow them to build a better future by supporting their families in the midst of increasing cost of living in the Chicago area.
  • Protection of quality, family health insurance. The janitors plan provides comprehensive coverage for janitors and their families at half of the cost of the average family health plan in Illinois.
  • Stronger contract, which gives part time members stronger seniority rights.

Nearly 2,000 janitors are still working to get their contracts settled. Chicago Public Schools and other publicly funded facilities have traditionally followed these area standards set by BOMA and the Local 1 janitors, but there is no guarantee.

“We are celebrating great progress today, but we are just getting started,” said Paula Henriquez, a janitor with Chicago Public Schools. “Now we are calling on Cook County and the City of Chicago to adopt the wage and benefit standards for janitors at Chicago Public Schools, the airports, and all publicly funded facilities set by SEIU Local 1 janitors, business leaders and BOMA.”


 SEIU Local 1 unites nearly 50,000 property service workers in the Midwest, including janitors, security officers and residential doormen. Together we work to build strength for all working people, on the job and in our communities.

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