Janitors unite in Stamford to demand a better contract ahead of union vote to strike
On Wednesday, janitors in Stamford marched and rallied to demand a better contract ahead of union vote to strike.
Nearly 150 members of the 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) marched down Washington Boulevard to demand new contract.
Janitors say their contract with over 50 companies that cleans buildings across the tri-state expires on Dec. 31.
If their conditions are not met, the union will vote to strike on Saturday.
To avoid a strike, the union demands wage increases that keep pace with inflation, expanded retirement security, including pension benefits or 401K, and Juneteenth off.
Rochelle Palache, a union representative, said this could mean a large shutdown for Stamford.
"Our members clean all these buildings you're looking at in Downtown Stamford, including 888 Washington Blvd., Stamford's Government Center; so, this would mean the entire City of Stamford will be shut down," said Palache.
Union officials say the workers are making on average less than $19 an hour.
At a rally after the march, outside the Stamford Government Center, Mayor Caroline Simmons told the workers they "remain essential."
"You have been on the front lines through a pandemic making sure that our office buildings are clean,” Simmons said. "And we're standing up with them for fair wages, fair benefits, and grateful to have them as part of our community."
News 12 reached out to the spokesperson for the contractors who employ nearly 1,500 janitors working in Western Connecticut but have not heard back.