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February 01, 2005

How to Get a 24% Raise? Build a Union

While the Sunday NY Times piece was mostly celebrity piffle, it did mention a couple of important union campaigns. One of the more interesting ones has been a quiet one-- the success of janitors in building a strong union in Northern New Jersey.

The industry was largely non-union just a few years ago, but just a couple of weeks ago, 5,000 janitors and other building service workers in New Jersey ratified a contract with a 24% increase in wages and free health care.

This is one result of a three-year organizing campaign that has remade the industry by targetting the big corporations that hire the cleaning companies. Part of the incentive for companies to agree to the union is a promise that they won't have to pay the union wage until a majority of companies in an area have also signed up, thereby preventing a few union companies being destroyed in a sea of low-wage non-union competition.

Posted by Nathan at February 1, 2005 07:11 AM