Mirroring trend, area janitors settle contracts without strikes

Unionized janitors who clean private office buildings have been agreeing to new contracts without having to hit the picket lines.

Members of the Service Employees International Union who clean suburban office buildings are the latest to settle. Their counterparts in Philadelphia and New Jersey also have recently struck deals with their employers.

The unions are thinking about the overall economy, said Carl Van Horn, the director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

“Most unions do not go on strike,” Van Horn said. “This is not a new pattern, but during a recession, it is less likely for them to go on strike because they have a little less leverage with employers than otherwise.”

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Van Horn, who said it’s a simple matter of economics, points to Verizon workers who did go on strike but quickly relented.

“Most people do live paycheck to paycheck and they can’t afford to go out on strike or they are worried that a long strike can put them in a very bad financial situation,” he said.

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