Houston janitors win new contract

Good for them.

Houston janitors agreed Saturday to ratify a new union contract with building contractors that will see wages for full-time workers reach $15.

Full-time janitors will see their wages increase to at least $15 during the course of the four-year contract. Janitors with more than five years of experience will earn $15.50 by the end of the contract.

Part-time workers will see their wages increase to a minimum of $14.10 an hour.

“These janitors have not seen this type of victory since they organized in 2006,” Service Employees International UnionTexas President Elsa Flores said. “Obviously, they love every contract that they’ve gotten. They know that you know they got as much as they could get. But let’s recognize that this time around, they were able to get significant improvements on the wages.”

Wages will increase by 20% for part-time workers and 16-17% for full-time workers.

SEIU representatives came to a tentative deal Thursday night, one day before its two-year contract was set to expire.

As part of the deal, janitors will also receive an extra floating holiday and 70% of the janitors will have at least a 25-hour workweek by the end of the contract instead of the current 30%.


Houston janitors have gone on strike twice in 2006 and 2012. Flores said the difference from 12 years ago compared to now is that more people see the value of workers like janitors, which puts more pressure on the contractors.

See here and here for more on those previous strikes, and here for a CityCast Houston interview with Elsa Flores, the President of SEIU Texas. I would certainly hope that people are more likely to see the value of the janitors. Certainly if you work in an office building, you should know. I’m glad they were able to resolve this and get a good deal without a strike. Houston Public Media has more.

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