500 Downtown Cleveland Janitors Win Historic New Contract!

As Janitors Come Together For ‘One Cleveland’… 

500 Downtown Cleveland Janitors Win Historic New Contract With 25% Wage Hike, Which Will Pump $7.5 Million Into Cleveland’s Working-Class Neighborhoods

CLEVELAND – By a unanimous vote, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 janitors who clean Cleveland’s downtown buildings ratified a historic new union contract this afternoon as part of their campaign for “One Cleveland,” a city in which all working people—white, Black and brown—can benefit from downtown’s resurgence.

Under the five-year contract agreement, which covers 500 janitors, wages will increase up to 25%, with the average hourly wage reaching $15 by 2023, and janitors will receive fully funded healthcare from their employer. The wage hike, four times higher than what janitors won in their previous contract, translates into an extra $13,104 to $16,744 for downtown janitors over the life of the agreement.

“Our janitor-led ‘One Cleveland’ campaign has proved to be a historic success, and I’m so proud of how we came together to win a better future for our city,” said Brian Yarbrough, a Local 1 janitor at the Fifth Third Center who negotiated the new contract alongside his co-workers. “The wages and benefits we won will provide a game-changing boost for our families and Cleveland’s most neglected communities. While Cleveland janitors have won a major victory, we won’t stop until all Ohio janitors earn at least $15 and can fully support their families.”

The contract victory comes on the heels of similar contracts won in recent weeks by Cleveland janitors at the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), the Cleveland Orchestra and the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill. These four contracts are worth $11 million and cover 700 total Local 1 Cleveland janitors, who joined together across different backgrounds to fight for $15 and build One Cleveland.

As part of their One Cleveland campaign, janitors fought for a $15 wage and improved workplace standards as a way to ensure all Clevelanders benefit from the city’s booming redevelopment.

In the coming months, more Local 1 janitors in Cleveland as well as Akron, Columbus and Cincinnati will launch their fight for strong new contracts and the good raises they need to lift their cities for everyone. Overall, 1,650 Local 1 janitors across Ohio will negotiate new contracts by the end of 2019.

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