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Janitors in SEIU Local 1 ratify three-year deal

The agreement with downtown and suburban office buildings calls for wage increases and improved job protections.

Chicago’s Riverwalk in the Loop.
Janitors who clean downtown and suburban office buildings have ratified a three-year contract.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Janitors who clean downtown and suburban office buildings ratified a three-year contract that provides wage increases, job recall rights and other benefit gains, their union said Monday.

Service Employees International Union Local 1 said the agreement covers about 10,000 people. The negotiations involved the Buildings Owners and Managers Association of Chicago and contractors in the suburbs.

Union spokesman Nick Desideri said downtown janitors secured a more than 6.3% wage hike over the life of the deal. He said that in the suburbs, janitors will see a 7.7% raise over three years plus doubled employer contributions to the 401(k) retirement plan.

“By coming together, we won good annual raises, health care protections, better job security and the stability our families need,” said Krsytyna Galik, Local 1 janitor and member of the union’s executive board.

Farzin Parang, BOMA executive director, said, “BOMA/Chicago holds the distinction of being the only BOMA local association to negotiate directly with unions as the collective bargaining agent for our members and we are proud of the strong partnership we have built with SEIU Local 1.”

Desideri said the contract was overwhelmingly ratified during two online meetings conducted in Spanish, Polish and English. The old contract expired April 9.

He said workers got better language guaranteeing job recalls. Some were laid off as office buildings reduced operations because of COVID-19, but he said callbacks have increased lately.

Health care coverage continues with no increase in workers’ share of the premiums, Desideri said.

SEIU Local 1 has an ownership stake in Sun-Times Media.