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Janitors threaten strike at 22 Philadelphia schools

Monday, April 19th, 2010



More than 200 custodians who clean 22 Philadelphia public schools have authorized a strike. Each side is accusing the other of using scare tactics.

The contract employees work for Team Clean, and say they make much less than their counterparts who are employed by the school district. Valerie Long is vice president of the Service Employees International Union, local 32 BJ. Long says management is using illegal scare tactics to keep workers from speaking to union representatives.

“It’s really gotten stalled because of this harassment of our union members. It really just slows things down and makes workers afraid to take action.”

Long says the workers make between $9.70 and $11.25 an hour. They want a wage increase and better benefits.

Team Clean says the union used scare tactics to get workers to authorize a strike. A spokesperson says the company will continue to clean the schools even if a strike occurs.


2 Comments

  • Jim DeLorenzo says:

    Team Clean has been in negotiations since January 20, 2010 with 32BJ Service Employees International Union regarding our Team Clean employees at 22 schools in the Philadelphia School District, but no new negotiations are scheduled at this time. We want to perpetuate job growth in our hometown, the City of Philadelphia, and we have a long history of providing a competitive wage and benefits package to our employees. Our Team Clean employees in the 22 Philadelphia School District schools are paid well-above minimum wage, in fact they average between $12-to-$13 per hour including health care benefits paid for by Team Clean and provided by the Union’s Health Care Fund. There have been no incidents of intimidation or threats against our Team Clean employees by our company. We have always had open relationships between management and employees. Donna Allie, Team Clean’s founder, cares a great deal for her business and her team which she has worked hard to build over the past two decades, and has personally visited the 22 schools to meet directly with her employees. While we genuinely hope that our employees will not resort to a work stoppage because of the possible impact on them and their families, Team Clean is fully prepared to keep operating and fulfill our agreement with the Philadelphia School District by fully staffing all 22 schools in the event of a strike. We therefore hope and expect that through the negotiation process a mutually beneficial labor agreement can be soon reached with Local 32BJ.

  • Fudge Connors says:

    The wages are too low . You can’t make a living on $11.25 hr. For most ; this isn’t simply supplemental income . On the other hand ; the Union hires folks terminated from cleaning jobs . They choose shop stewards that are incompetent & uninformed. I watched in 2007 as a shop steward threatened ” brothers & sisters ” that Union members from NY were going to show up & beat them w/ baseball bats if they didn’t strike or honor a strike . Union & scare tactics ? I believe it .

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