There will be a ratification vote held for all members to attend. At this meeting the bargaining team will explain the details of the tentative deal that has been reached with GDI Integrated Facility Services. All members are encouraged to attend, discuss and vote.
Various meetings will be held throughout the day at the times below. This is your collective agreement – come out and vote.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Janitors packed into a downtown Toronto hotel on Saturday to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement. The cleaners are seeing the most significant raises since they started working in the janitorial industry. In addition, workers were able to improve their health and dental benefits plan, improve job security, and for the first time, will be able to bank paid personal days which can now be used for absences due to illness.
“This is good for my family,” said Olga da Cruz, a member of the bargaining committee. “I’ve never been paid when I’ve sick before. Just like all working families in Toronto, we needed some real improvements and we won them.”
The 2,000 plus janitors, members of the Service Employees International Union Local 2, were in a legal strike position but reached a tentative agreement with seven of the largest cleaning companies ten days ago.
By the time the agreement expires in 2019, most workers will see their hourly wages increase by almost 13 per cent.
“Years ago, before we formed a union we had nothing,” said Chris Lockhart, who has worked in the janitorial industry for almost a decade. “But every year things are getting better. I have to buy eyeglasses every year and they’re expensive so this deal really helps.”
The deal was reached with Alpine Building Maintenance, Bee Clean Building Maintenance, C&W Services, Commercial Cleaning Services, Compass Canada, Hallmark Housekeeping Services, and Magic Maintenance. The agreement sets the stage for negotiations for close to an additional 700 union members. Talks with about a dozen other cleaning companies will begin shortly.
The goal is to continue raising standards for all workers in the janitorial industry.
Cleaners in Toronto have made great strides since the launch of the Justice for Janitors campaign in 2007. Less than ten years ago, a large number of cleaners in Toronto were trapped in elaborate subcontracting schemes that denied workers basic protections covered in the Employment Standards Act such as WSIB coverage, Employment Insurance, overtime pay, vacation pay, statutory holiday pay and CPP contributions . It was not uncommon to find cases where cleaners were making less than minimum wage. Medical benefits were only a pipe dream for the vast majority.
Today, through the Justice for Janitors campaign, thousands of Toronto area cleaners and their families are now enjoying medical benefits and important gains in wages.
“There’s still work to do,” said Tom Galivan, SEIU Local 2’s organizing director. “We still need to turn these into living wage jobs that will allow workers to support families with one fulltime job.”
The bargaining committee representing over 2,000 cleaners who work in nearly 200 Toronto locations, including large commercial office properties, retail malls and other sites, have reached a tentative agreement with their employers and for the moment have averted a massive strike. The cleaners were poised to start walking off the job on Monday.
“We work hard and we just want to lift our families out of poverty,” said Andrea Sosa, a member of the bargaining committee who has been working in the cleaning industry for three years. “We were not asking for the world – but we needed some real improvements.”
“We believe the tentative agreement we reached accomplishes that and we look forward to presenting the deal to our co-workers as soon as possible,” said Sosa.
A fair raise, paid sick days and improved health benefits are some of the basic demands that janitors tabled at negotiations with their employers. However details of the tentative deal will not be made public until after they are presented to members of the Service Employees International Union Local 2.
The ratification vote will take place on Saturday May 14th at 10 AM at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto at 475 Yonge Street. Click here for more details.
The workers have been in negotiations with Alpine Building Maintenance, Bee Clean Building Maintenance, C&W Services, Commercial Cleaning Services, Compass Canada, Hallmark Housekeeping Services, and Magic Maintenance since early March.
After lengthy negotiations, Bee Clean employees at the Ministry of Transportation building on St. Paul St. and the Robert S. K. Welch Courthouse have ratified a first contract.
“What an amazing difference in our lives since becoming unionized!” said Chief Steward Yetti Hardman. “Our members are so impressed with SEIU Local 2 and this exceptional first contract.”
Some of the improvements workers are enjoying today include: