About 1,400 commercial office cleaners working in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties have ratified a contract with employers, which includes a nearly two dollar an hour raise.
The commercial office cleaners, members of SEIU 32BJ, work with building maintenance companies that clean buildings of over 100,000 square feet for the likes of Merck, GlaxoSmithKline and Vanguard.
Vice president of SEIU 32BJ in Pennsylvania and Delaware Gabe Morgan said the wage increase for full-time workers will rise to $14.30 over the next four years, up from $12.35. It also provides for some working condition improvements, according to Morgan.
The negotiations began on November 5th and the ratified agreement will take effect in June 2016.
Cleaner Luz Moyano, 56, said she is thrilled with the terms. Moyano came to the United States from Ecuador 12 years ago and now cleans offices in King of Prussia. She says she thanked God when the union initially reached a tentative agreement.
When asked how the money would make a difference in her life, Moyano said through an interpreter she would use it “to pay my overdue bills. I’m behind on my mortgage, on my credit card bills.” She explained she had been using her credit cards to pay for utilities such as electricity and water.
Moyano said she first started working as a commercial cleaner over a decade ago, she was making $5.25 an hour.
Cleaning workers’ contracts up and down the east coast have come up for renewal this fall, with over 5,000 New Jersey commercial office cleaners reaching an agreement last week.
According to Morgan, each worker cleans an average of 40,000 square feet per shift.
Representative of cleaning companies involved in negotiations did not answer phone calls seeking comment on the agreement.