7:09 PM Eastern - Friday, September 21, 2012

New England Janitors to vote on strike #default

Labor-Day-march-photo.jpgWith contract expiration for 14,000 janitors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island just days away, workers will vote tomorrow on whether to authorize their leadership call a strike to protest their employers' threats and intimidation when the workers stood up for their rights.

The janitors are mobilizing for good jobs with healthcare. Their efforts have been met with threats and intimidation from their employers.

Despite the fact that Boston is among the fastest-recovering metropolitan areas in the country, most New England janitors are only offered part-time work, forcing many to work two or three jobs just to survive, and to rely on taxpayer-funded state programs for healthcare.

The janitors and their bargaining committee have worked hard to find an agreement that would help create good jobs in New England, but just nine days before the contract expires, their employers are still far from making an offer that their aspiration of a good job to raise a family with healthcare.

Silvia Clarke, a janitor who works in downtown Boston and SEIU Local 615 board member, said: "We desperately need more hours to earn enough to get by and raise our families. But we have seen little progress from our employers and billion dollar companies whose offices we clean. "

"The companies we work for need to start taking responsibility for the people who clean their offices."

If the janitors vote yes on Saturday, the bargaining committee would be authorized to call for a strike after the contract expires on September 30th. In 2002, thousands of SEIU Local 615 janitors went on an historic four-week strike to lift standards in New England's janitorial industry.

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