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Custodian Strike Roundup

Washington D.C. cleaners avert strike while GM custodians remain on the picket line

October 18, 2019

A contract agreement reached earlier this week averted a strike by nearly 11,000 unionized custodians working in Washington, D.C.; Maryland; and Virginia, The Washington Post reported.

Representatives from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) reached an agreement with the Washington Service Contractors Association hours before the workers’ existing agreement lapsed on October 16. The union was seeking higher wages. Under the old contract, wages ranged from US$12.10 per hour for part-time custodians and $16.10 for full-time custodians. Details on the new wages are not available.

Meanwhile, custodians for General Motors Co. (GM) facilities represented by the United Auto Workers (AUW) union were authorized this week to receive  an increase in strike pay from $250 a week to $275 a week, UPI reports.

The GM custodians, who are employed by a building services contractor, have been on strike for more than a month. They are allowed to take on part-time jobs without losing their strike pay.The workers, who earn between US$11 and $15.18 an hour, are seeking higher pay and improved health benefits.

The custodians went on the picket line one day before GM auto workers went on strike. Custodians and auto workers have been reluctant to cross each other’s picket lines and were hopeful they would reach contract agreements around the same time. Representatives for the auto workers and GM reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday that could end the strike by nearly 50,000 workers.

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