Janitor Melvin Broom holds a mop during a protest by members of the Service Employees International Union Local 1 Janitors, where they called for raises to $15 an hour at Kiener Plaza on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. About 20 people were later arrested as they blocked Washington Avenue. Photo by Robert Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. LOUIS — A group of janitors has voted to ratify a new, three year agreement, following months of contract negotiations and rallies.The new contract includes a 14% average wage increase over the life of the contract, said Nick Desideri, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union Local 1, which represents the janitors.The union local largely represents janitors at private businesses. It is based in 11 cities and six states across the Midwest. St. Louis has the largest membership outside of the Chicago region.The contract covers more than 2,100 janitors who are employed by private cleaning companies. Those in the St. Louis area clean buildings including US Bank Plaza, St. Louis County facilities, Peabody Plaza, Express Scripts, Boeing, One Metropolitan Square, the Wells Fargo Building and BJC Healthcare, according to the union.Under the contract, the janitors’ healthcare costs will not increase, and their employers will make higher pension contributions, Desideri said. The contract also includes paid sick days, which the janitors did not have before.The union did not release the margin of the vote, but said in a release that the janitors voted “overwhelmingly” to ratify the contract.The union has held a series of rallies in favor of raising the janitors wages to $15 an hour, starting in October before contract negotiations began.