In a moment of employer and labor unity during the Coronavirus crisis, 32BJ SEIU and the Maintenance Contractors of New England have agreed to a one-year extension of their 2016-2020 contract. The new contractâ€”which covers approximately 14,000 janitors who clean commercial office buildings and public spaces throughout Metropolitan Boston, Central Massachusetts, and Rhode Islandâ€”was scheduled to expire this September but will now be extended through September 30, 2021.
Both parties agreed that coming together in this unprecedented economic and public health crisis is crucial, especially as people start coming back to work at the office buildings these workers clean. The extension will allow management, union officials, and workers to strategize together on protecting the health and safety of all as Governor Bakerâ€™s administration rolls out his four-phase reopening plan, and making sure that building owners are doing the same. The extension also maintains quality, union healthcare for the janitors and their families, which is crucial for this vulnerable workforce and the general public in the face of COVID-19.
â€œThe cleaning contractors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island put tremendous value in our employees,â€ said Michael White, President/Chairman of the Association. â€œWe are glad that this agreement will enable the industry to continue and maintain our focus on providing our clients with the services they need in this unprecedented moment as well as to ensure the stability they and our employees depend upon.â€
â€œThe pandemic has forced all of us on both sides of the table to unite around economic stability and workplace safety as the Bay State slowly reopens,â€ said Roxana Rivera, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU and local leader of the union. â€œOur commercial cleaners come from some of the most impacted communities in our stateâ€”they are primarily immigrants and people of color living in places that have been ravaged by the disease, such as Chelsea, Lynn, and Mattapan. Right now, they need stability and collaboration with management, and Iâ€™m very pleased that the Contractors Association agrees. By coming together, we will do our part to make the Bay Stateâ€™s working families safe and secure as we fight this terrible disease.â€