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D.C. Office Cleaners Threatening Strike Over Contract

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More than one hundred office cleaners rallied in downtown D.C. on Wednesday, as the prospect of a strike looms on the horizon.
Patrick Madden
More than one hundred office cleaners rallied in downtown D.C. on Wednesday, as the prospect of a strike looms on the horizon.

Nearly 12,000 D.C. area janitors and office-cleaners are threatening to go on strike if they do not receive a new contract. The workers – members of chapter 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union – are pushing for higher wages, greater benefits, and more-full time employees. The cleaning companies have said they can’t meet the union’s demands right now because of the stagnant economy – and are asking for an extension of the current contract for at least a year. 

More than 100 workers braved the rain and wind this afternoon to rally in downtown D.C. Jaime Contreras, who directs the local union, says at this point, a strike is likely.

“What’s going to happen at downtown D.C. if there’s a strike, the tenants are going to have to take the trash out by themselves, clean the bathrooms themselves, vacuum themselves, because there is not going to be anybody cleaning these buildings,” says Contreras.

The deadline for the new contract is Saturday – at midnight.  

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