BOSTON (CBS) — A Boston janitors’ union voted to walk off the job–cleaning and maintaining office buildings and the MBTA–if a deal with the Maintenance Contractors of New England is not made by September 30.
Members of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union spilled out of John Hancock Hall and on to East Berkeley Street Saturday afternoon, wearing purple “Strong Together” t-shirts and hoisting union signs demanding full-time work in some of Boston’s most famous towers and transit system.
32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the nation, and has 18,000 in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Their members clean and maintain several Boston office buildings, such as the John Hancock and Prudential Towers, as well as the MBTA.
“We’re talking about 2,000 buildings across Massachusetts,” said union Vice President Roxana Rivera. “The MBTA, we’re talking about the State House. They clean all those buildings, and we’re basically saying today that we’re ready to strike.”
The union is pushing for fair wage increases and protections against unreasonable workloads, according to a statement.
But the Maintenance Contractors of New England said that, after two days of “constructive” talks this week, they agreed to family healthcare with no employee contribution and a wage increase, among other points.
“As a result, the MCNE believes today’s union strike vote is unnecessary,” the group said in a statement.
Rivera says there will be a lot of disruption if the union’s members don’t show up to work next week.
“Tenants are going to be very unhappy,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of garbage.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports