Update - Saturday, Dec 31: A tentative agreement has been reached between SEIU Local 32BJ and the Realty Advisory Board on a four-year contract covering more than 22,000 New York City office cleaners. Learn more here.
Earlier this month, thousands of New York City office cleaners and commercial building workers voted to authorize a strike at over 1,500 commercial office buildings if a deal is not reached between SEIU 32BJ and the Realty Advisory Board, an industry association representing most building owners, by 12:01 am on January 1st. The workers are seeking a fair contract that would preserve good jobs with wages that keep pace with the cost of living in New York City, as well as maintain the benefits many families rely on, such as affordable healthcare and sick days.
As the contract deadline looms for 22,000 office cleaners represented by SEIU 32BJ, janitors in more than 12 cities have pledged to honor picket lines should the strike spread outside of New York City.
The showdown comes as our nation is in the midst of wide-scale public protests over income inequality between the very wealthy and the rest of the country and a debate about what kind of country we will become if income disparity continues to widen. While corporate executives are making record amounts, income for 95 percent of American households has either stayed the same or fallen since 1970, threatening to make the middle class the great disappearing act of the 21st century.
Janitors in Northern Virginia, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Orange County, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis and Sacramento have all signed petitions stating their intention to honor picket lines should the strike spread to their buildings.
Here are more ways to learn what's happening in New York City and across the country -- be sure to check back for updates:
- Stay updated on Twitter by following the hashtag #32BJstrike.
- If you're an SEIU 32BJ member, get involved using the strike action kit here.
- If you live in New York, you can donate non-perishable food to the thousands of 32BJ members as they prepare to strike. Here's a list of locations.
- Show your support online by putting one of these badges or images on your own website or Facebook profile.
- Check out this week's photos from rallies in support of NYC office cleaners.
- Listen to interviews on KQV 1410 AM Radio on why office cleaners and activists in Pittsburgh are rallying in support of NYC workers: "SEIU Solidarity with NYC"
- Learn more about the tens of thousands of 32BJ building workers who have fought for good jobs this year at www.standwithbuildingworkers.org.
- Watch the video below from one member on what a fair contract means to his family.