About 650 Indianapolis, IN-area janitors working for eight firms that contract cleaning services for downtown office buildings will be receiving raises to increase their starting wages from US$9.75 per hour to $11.50 per hour over a period of three years, the Indianapolis Business Journal reports.
The tentative agreement between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents the janitors, and the eight firms would also decrease health insurance premiums from $280 to $100 per month, add paid sick and bereavement days, and require the firms to have more full-time workers.
Contract negotiations began in August and have been contentious, with SEIU members engaging in civil disobedience. An October 25 protest at Eli Lilly and Co., one of the businesses contracting janitors, resulted in police citing nearly 50 people.
Although the agreement still needs to be ratified by the janitors, they expect it to be passed and in effect by Thanksgiving. However, janitors say they won’t stop seeking starting hourly wages of $13, equal to that of entry-level Indianapolis city government workers.