Janitors at Tri-C Community College Win Path to $15/Hour

Momentum continues to build for $15 in Ohio’s janitorial industry as union cleaners win contract that will pump almost $2 Million Dollars into Cleveland’s Most Neglected Neighborhoods

CLEVELAND – By an overwhelming margin, 70 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 Janitors ratified a strong new union contract with GCA Services, the cleaning contractor at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). The agreement–which comes on the heels of a similar deal in February for janitors at the Cleveland Orchestra–annual raises, with every worker paid at least $15 per hour by 2024. 

“There’s no doubt that as janitors in this city, we are building momentum,” says Kathy Curlee Jones, a Local 1 janitor at Tri-C who, along with her co-workers, negotiated the agreement. “The fact that $15 is becoming the standard is evidence that when working people of all racial backgrounds stick together, everybody wins. We need $15. Cleveland needs $15. We can do this.”

With several contracts now expired or about to expire for 1,650 Local 1 janitors throughout Cleveland and surrounding area, janitors continue to win good jobs that will benefit communities in every zip code of our city. Through their campaign–One Cleveland–they will be fighting for a $15 wage along with raising standards in the janitorial industry as a way to make sure all Clevelanders—whether white, Black, or brown—benefit from the city’s booming redevelopment. The city’s comeback is made possible with millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and all Clevelanders should benefit from the renaissance.

Janitors hope The Tri-C victory, like the Orchestra win, will set the tone for upcoming union negotiations. The Tri-C union agreement will pump almost $2 million dollars into Cleveland’s most neglected neighborhoods. In addition, the janitors’ five-year union contract improves benefits such as paid time off, sick days and holidays.

SEIU Local 1 members will continue to address and highlight the stark differences between the newly redeveloping downtown–funded by taxpayer subsidies–and the neighborhoods left behind in Cleveland’s renaissance. Read the full report at Tale of Two Clevelands. Throughout the country, 134,000 SEIU janitors will be standing together to negotiate new union contracts over the next two years.

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