NYC Cleaners’ Union Votes To Authorize Strike If Necessary; Unions Protest Economic Conditions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City cleaners union voted Thursday to authorize a strike, if necessary, that could potentially affect 1,500 commercial office buildings in the city.

Thousands of office cleaners and commercials building workers with the 32BJ Service Employees International Union  voted to allow their bargaining committee to call a strike.  That strike could involve about 22,000 workers if there is a failure to reach a new contract by 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2012.

Cleaning union workers marched Thursday afternoon from 34th Street to Union Square in opposition to a proposed wage and benefit structure that the union says is “aimed at creating a lower second class of workers.”

The march was a part of a larger protest organized by the New York Central Labor Council, 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reported.

32BJ Had One Of The Largest Rally Turnouts. 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports.

CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis was live on the scene as workers marched on Broadway.  Various union groups participated in the march, including healthcare workers and teachers.  Even some Occupy Wall Street members joined the protest.

Demonstrators said they wanted to get the attention of government and corporate leaders to create more jobs.

“It’s an injustice what’s happening to the families all over the world. In this country, that they can’t feed their children, that children are not being educated, that they’re dumbing America down by taking money away from the city schools,” one woman told Dennis.

“We have people making all this money and we have millions out of work and it’s not fair.  We’re not taking it no more,” said another woman.

“The real estate industry’s demands to roll back the wage and benefit standards of lower middle class workers are unacceptable,” Mike Fishman, president of the union, said in a statement. “Today’s strike vote shows we are determined to keep our city a place that working families can afford to call home.”

The union says that is against the proposal because it would be things harder for current and new workers to make a living in New York City.

“A two-tier wage system would be a giant leap backward for all workers because it drives down wages and benefits for years to come,” Fishman said. “The industry’s sole purpose in creating a second tier of workers is to replace the first tier with lower paid workers.”

Marchers Said They Want Justice. WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond Reports

The union says that the highest rate for its cleaners is $22.65 per hour, which amounts to about $47,000 annually.  That is a number that the union says is “significantly less than the household income that independent researchers have shown is necessary to support a family of four.”

“Nobody wants a strike — least of all the men and women who keep New York City’s office buildings clean, but we must prepare for one if building owners insist on taking us down that path,” Fishman said.

photo541 NYC Cleaners Union Votes To Authorize Strike If Necessary; Unions Protest Economic Conditions

(credit: Malgorzata Zielinska)

Do you think the workers will go on strike?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

Comments

One Comment

  1. tim says:

    Find the posts about the cheapest rent in NYC to be between 2 and 3 grand a bit disingenuous. Those are minimum prices in Manhattan outer boroughs are much cheaper as is the overall cost of living.

  2. glenna says:

    What’s the learning curve for this skill – one day? They won’t have trouble finding good people to fill those jobs at $22.65/hr.

    1. dcomer says:

      Seriously, you have no perspective. It sickens me to think that our forefathers fought and died in wars and strikes to build our society and provide the things that allowed you to have the comfortable life you have. The interstate that you drive to work on. The schools that educated you and allowed you to get a decent job. The pay scale you enjoy today is because of the sacrifice of others before you. Really though who cares, you got yours right? You are so short sighted you don’t see that attacking workers for wanting a living wage you will bring your wage and everyone elses down eventually. Why do you think we are the first generation to have a lower standard of living than our parents. Its because of people like you who are so wrapped up in defending the right of the extremely wealthy to take advantage of others and put profits over people

  3. bigbroski says:

    The wage structure of these unions are getting top heavy! If they strike Obama will allow the Illegals to take the jobs and the strikers will get a vacation on Welfare! The Occupiers don’t want to work because they want the taxpayers to foot the bill for everything they want in their life!!

  4. ImaHippyBurning says:

    Let them strike, then pull a Reagan on their spoiled a$$es and backfill their positions with non union hard working people who would be more than happy to make this kind of monies!!!

    1. Dcomer says:

      But they wont make that kind of money, they will go down to min wage quickly. If you want to live in a country where everyone makes min wage, then by all means carry on

  5. Larrybudwiser says:

    The SEIU is the union of the unskilled, untrained and “un”useful. Half of theat union’s membership is illegals. What they forget is that if dogs had thumbs, they (the SEIU) could be replaced by them

  6. Randy says:

    The union workers are afraid they will be put in a lower class of workers? How do you get any lower class than a union worker?

  7. Dcomer says:

    Oh and I failed to bring to light the fact that it said its top pay is $22 an hour. That doesn’t mean all of them make that either.

    Why don’t you guys tone down the partisan BS and look at the real enemies, The Wall Street fat cats who control our legislation, our media and OUR MONEY through the federal reserve. Grow up people, this isn’t a football game. The Dems are not commies and they do not want to destroy America and the Republicans are not Nazi’s and are not trying to destroy America. We are all American who want the best for our country. Only difference is that both sides have different ideas on whats best for the country.

    Obama is not a Muslim, he is not the anti-christ, he is not a communist. He is not trying to destroy the country. He has different ideas than you. That doesn’t make him evil.

  8. Dcomer says:

    You all apparently seem to have your heads shoved somewhere in the southern regions of your bodies.

    First of all, this is NOT A GOVERNMENT JOB you DOLTS. These are public sector. Second of all these jobs are not all unskilled. Running a floor buffer is an art. People spend years getting good at it. Third of all when your living in or around NYC where the cheapest place you can find to live for a family is about $2000 a month and the average is over $3000. Thats 24k on the low end and 36k a year on the average. If they had a bargain basement apartment they would spend over 1/2 their income on rent, on the average end they would spend over 75% of their income on rent.

    You people are whats wrong with this country. You have been taken in by the propaganda that Unions are our enemy. They built the comfortable middle class with their blood, sweat and tears. You have decided that anyone who is not you is over paid and deserves min wage. What happens when your jobs pay is dropped or not increased because they can get unskilled labor and train them to do your job. Lets be honest, most jobs with the exception of engineers, doctors, lawyers and things of the sort can be learned on the job.

    DUMMYS when you decrease the wage of others, you eventually decrease your own. OPEN YOUR EYES

  9. Suibne says:

    THE SEIU IS A SOCIALIST FRONT. USELESS UNION LIVING ON THREATS OF VIOLENCE FOR YEARS PHONIES. THEY NEED TO BE SHUT DOWN COMPLETELY.
    SUIBNE

  10. Bizzle says:

    I got news for ya… You’re a janitor! Take your 20 bucks an hour and be happy for it!

  11. John says:

    You are janitors,,, You can be replaced at a whim… The La Times ran an article 25 years ago how the afro American is being forced out of the indusrty by the Latinos..Oh hail the Democratic Party .. they want the minority vote at the expense of you… Wake up,,,, Good luck looking for work.”

  12. sgeilt says:

    …..AND SOMEHOW….there are those who do not see the utter stupidity of a system
    that would allow for this to occur in the first place. UNIONS have outlived their usefulness. They need to be shut down before we are ruin by the socialists completely.
    suibne

  13. Jimmie Meehan says:

    That’s just Awful!….I doubt that there are 10 people in nyc that know how to clean up after themselves

  14. Bill Jones says:

    All illegal aliens that belong to a marxist organization.. Please strike!!!!

  15. longun45 says:

    They should go on strike and be there for 100 years. Meanwhile the office staff will police their own areas take out their own trash, bathroom duty will be rotated. Simple enough.

  16. tmr98122 says:

    Go SEIU!

  17. 7cedars says:

    $44,000 a year – good grief, they make more than most teachers and a whole lot more folks….they’re in the 1% – tax ’em, TAX ‘EM!!!!!

  18. rufus levin says:

    I bet a hundred thousand returning veterans from the Middle Eastern wars, with NO jobs, would be GLAD to show the JANITORS what hard working smart AMERICAN military men and women could do to keep a building clean and policed up….then you UNION slugs could go to Mexico and sell drugs.

  19. JK says:

    They won’t go on strike until after the New Year. They know it would put a huge dent their holiday tips.

    1. tmr98122 says:

      Janitors don’t get tips

  20. rufus levin says:

    THESE UNION IDIOTS JUST GAVE ME AN IDEA.

    If Unions are all about PROTECTING their MEMBERS via COLLECTIVE BARGAINING and Threatening to walk off of their jobs if their damands aren’t met…

    THEN I AM GOING TO FORM A RICH MILLIONAIRE AND BILLIONAIRE UNION AND DEMAND THAT THE US GOVERNMENT COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN WITH MY UNION OR THE RICH GUYS WILL NOT PAY THEIR TAXES AND TAKE THEIR FORTURNES OFFSHORE UNTIL MY DEMANDS ARE MET.

    YOU CANNOT JAIL A UNION ORGANIZATION FOR REPRESENTING ITS MEMBERS….AND FRANKLY, WE WILL ALSO FREEZE ANY CAMPAIGN DONATIONS TO ANY CANDIDATES UNTIL THEY CUT OUR TAXES AND REDISTRIBUTE LABOR WORKERS AT A REASONABLE WAGE RATE TO OUR BUSINESSES…..OR SUBSIDIZE OUR BUSINESSES WITH INTEREST FREE LOANS.

    WATCH THE CONGRESS AND OBAMA DROP A TWINKY ON THAT ONE.

  21. rufus levin says:

    I LOVE IT WHEN UNIONS STRIKE IN THE BIG NORTHERN CITIES AND FINALLY THE CORP EXECS GET TOTALLY FED UP AND MOVE OUT TO TEXAS WHERE WE HAVE A RIGHT TO WORK STATE….WE GET MORE FORMER NYC CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS MOVING TO OUR STATE BECAUSE THE CORRUPTION, TAXES, AND UNION THUGS ALWAYS OVERPLAY THEIR HAND AND WIND UP HOLDING THEIR JOHNSON IN THEIR HAND WHEN THE JOBS LEAVE AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

    THEN THEY CRY MOAN AND WHILE ABOUT OFFSHORING JOBS LIKE IT WAS CORPORATE AMERICAN GREED…..FOOLS!

  22. rufus levin says:

    NEWT HAS THE RIGHT IDEA….GET RID OF CAREER JANITORS AND HIRE YOUNGER KIDS THAT WANT TO WORK INSTEAD OF UNION LOAFERS THAT JUST WANT MORE MONEY.

    SWEEPING DIRT AND EMPTYING TRASHCANS CALLS FOR ….A UNION???

    WHAT A BUNCH OF LOSERS.

    OCCUPY DUMMAS JANITORS….NOT WALL STREET

  23. NathanNV says:

    Let the Global Elites clean their own crap stains and mop their own floors, if all of you hold the line ,and don’t let the rats in, These Confedarate Slave Owners will crumble, just like they did last time.

    Janitors every where UNITE!

    1. 7cedars says:

      How uninformed we are! Please remember the slave owners were all DEMOCRATS! Republicans fought to end slavery… now, you know it’s reversed now… the Democrat Liberals live up north, while the hard-working Republicans live down south.

  24. Joseph McLinden says:

    In San Diego, Credentialed public school teachers with Masters degrees start at $48,000. Of course that’s AFTER you sign your Union Contract. $96.00 dollars from every pay check. And don’t think for one minute that the union even knows you’re alive. If you don’t join the union, your career, for which you worked so hard will be severely hobbled.

    1. NathanNV says:

      Hey Joseph, Why did’nt you go to work as a non union Teacher for $12.oo per hour and no benifets instead? Because you are a lier and a Slave Owner.

      How many Illegal Alien Slaves do you employ down there in Tiajuana?

      1. rufus levin says:

        DIDN”T LEARN TO SPELL DID YOU NAT?

  25. Joseph McLinden says:

    Why do they have to march around the city? Are they trying to convince me of something? Over 10% of New Yorker have NO JOB! Like… I’ve never seen a union strike demonstration? SEIU is trying to “get it done” this year, because they know that NEXT year their party will be over and Andy Stern will be moving his temporary office out of the White House, before they come in a fumigate it from the stench of him and his Communist cohort.

  26. Robert says:

    This is a very clever move on their part. After all, where on earth are their bosses going to get people who are qualified to do what they do?

  27. Josh Biggs says:

    FIRE THEM ALL NO QUESTIONS ASKED!!!!!!!

  28. Mike says:

    ANY ONE IN NYC WANT A JANITOR JOB….. IT MAKES ME SICK TO SEE SO MANY PEOPLE STRUGGLING TO FIND WORK AND PEOPLE THAT HAVE JOBS ALREADY WOULD RATHER COMPLAIN AND STAND IN THE STREET WITH A SIGN…. DISGUSTING I HOPE THEY STAND OUT THERE AND NEVER GET THEIR JOBS BACK.. IF U ARE IN NYC GO APPLY TO BE A JANITOR! TAKE THESE SPOILED A-HOLES JOBS.

  29. Richard Fontaine says:

    Why are the property taxes so high in New York City? Because all the graft and corruption have to be paid for somehow, and that ends up in higher and higher property taxes and therefore higher and higher rents. So, then the same Democrats who have led New York CIty corruption for decades claim their union buddies need more money because the cost of living in New York City is so high. And who is getting rich doing this? The Democratic hacks and their union thug bosses, who keep the politicans in office.

  30. Jim in Houston says:

    I thought before one could strike, one had to work.

  31. emerson biggins says:

    Andy Stern got his start with “Justice for Janitors” and he is as radical as they come, now he is employed by the white house. This is a dangerous socialist group of people taking advantage of “useful Idiots”. Wake up people!

  32. George says:

    47K for the dumbest of the dumb. And they want more? Only in NY.

    1. Jim in Houston says:

      You forgot about Californicate.

  33. Irish Denny says:

    LOL janitors union!!! hahahaa Ill bet money 75% of them are from other countrys and vote..Boy cleaning ppl are gonna be hard to replace LOL..I love seeing stories like this..Wont be long before the Red’s price them selves out of jobs..I cant tell you how many companys ive worked for that got sick of making great products or offered services nobody could afford because of union cost..they all got up and left the country.Keeep it up,i support teh union killing them selves..Good Job you guys are the best

  34. a real american says:

    we can get all the mexican muslim doctors we need you over priced non student loan paying occupy geek,,you had better prepare to lower medical costs rapidly

  35. Remisha Jackson says:

    President newt has the best plan,,,fire them all and have minority children bussed in to clean the floors and toilets

    1. ablecynic says:

      That works. When can we start. Oh wait, they would just be replacing their parents!

      1. rufus levin says:

        NO….MOST OF THEM DO NOT HAVE TWO PARENTS AND ARE RAISED BY A MOM…WHO I GUARANTEE IS NOT A UNION MEMBER.

  36. Mandy says:

    This union could easily be busted and people hired to do the job in one day. Not much training required and plenty of illegals to do the jobs.

    1. Gonzales Machete says:

      There are milliona of us and newt will insure the supply ,,thank you sister

      1. rufus levin says:

        IN THAT CASE….VIVA TOTAL AMNESTY….FREEZE A UNION WORKER OUT.

  37. Atlas Shrugged says:

    This is the very reason UNIONS should be eliminated. I don’t have to work, I’m IN A UNION.

    Remember, 9 % unemployment, everyone of their jobs could be filled in 1 day. Fire the strikers and not give them any state or federal benefits, just like REAGAN did the AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS.
    Where is the COUNTRIES BACKBONE, we need RONALD REAGAN again, not the POS we currently have or his RACIST ATTORNEY GENERAL.

    1. J Stalin says:

      Yes bro,,reagun made the air traval system what it is today,,with folks like you the global wage and system will be here soon,,state control of everything,,soviet style and camps for the rest,,

  38. Robert g says:

    Let them strike. I’m sure there are a lot of hard working Mexicans that would take the jobs at half the price and do twice the work as union workers.

    1. Jose Quako says:

      Hell yes,,we rupublicans cant lose ,,our mexicans can do it all.newt will insure we will have millions of mexicans forever.

  39. Vince says:

    DAMN! 47,000 annually to clean offices. That pretty damn good! I would have never though they were anywhere close to that. Thats more than police officers make.

  40. 87yht says:

    I bet 99% of these SEIU clowns are illegal anyway. Let them strike and fill these jobs with American citizens.

    1. I P Standing says:

      you got it wrong blood,,we want illegals to get these jobs at half the cost,,fire the americans unless they work for peon wages.american workers are villans

  41. RMcGehee says:

    Unionisim = Communisim

    1. H Goering says:

      Global wage scales+ the new amerika,,china,,the soviets set the example,,the the one worlder above is the example

    2. Osamas Pajamas says:

      With a healthy dose of fascism, to boot.

  42. ablecynic says:

    I wonder if NYC would ever have the cojones to hire strikebreakers. I know being a janitor is a high-skill job, with lots of training involved, but I suspect people could be found who would be up to the task. ;o)

  43. Paul Anderson says:

    To put this in perspective. I am a first year physician/resident with minimal benefits and I get a salary of 45,000 and I work for an average of 55-70 hours/ week and there is no such thing as overtime even if we hit 80. They are complaining about 47,000 with better benefits than me and a much higher hourly wage. I hope they go on strike. Surely that is a breech of contract, and they can all be fired.

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