Thousands of Philly janitors may go on strike

    Janitors rallied outside City Hall Tuesday ahead of a possible strike after midnight. The job action could send more than 2,600 janitors and building engineers to the picket lines.

    “We do keep the buildings clean. We work hard,” said Kathleen DeWyer of South Philadelphia. “We need help, and the only way we can get it is depending on our union to fight for us. Because, you know what the big people will do to the little people—they’ll walk all over us!

    “With the help of the union, who knows, we might get our fair share of life,” said DeWyer, who said she’s looking for a raise and better health benefits.

    The group rallied next to the Occupy Philadelphia tent city.

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    Valarie Long, vice president of SEIU 32BJ, noted that the occupiers’ message is the same as the union’s, that Philadelphians deserve decent, good-paying jobs.

    “We are the cleaners and service workers who make us part of the 99 percent in the city of Philadelphia,” said Long. “These workers are fighting for a good contract and also fighting to maintain good, middle-class jobs in the city.”

    A strike could send janitors and building engineers to picket lines at more than 100 buildings throughout Philadelphia, including Liberty Place, the Comcast Center, and Commerce Square.

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