Deal with Philly building owners averts janitors strike

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 Commercial building cleaners rally near City Hall Tuesday. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Commercial building cleaners rally near City Hall Tuesday. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Unionized cleaning workers in Philadelphia are celebrating a new  four-year contract.  

“This contract was very important to me because I am a diabetic, said Beverly Sims-Miller Friday.

Sims-Miller, who cleans at a Center City office building as a cleaner, was just one of the workers happy to retain health and pension benefits as part of the tentative agreement.

“We’re proud to have a strong contract,” she said. “We’re glad to be part of 32BJ [Service Employees International Union], we are the last of the blue-collar workers.”

The union represents about 2,800 janitors who clean offices in nearly 170 building throughout the city.

Janitor William Hall also said he is pleased with the deal.

“We got what we wanted,” he said. “It was a fight, but we got what we needed for ourselves and our families.”

Details of the contract were not made public, but sources said it keeps benefits and adds modest wage increases.

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