Photo: Dreamstime

Hundreds Of Detroit Janitors To Get $15-An-Hour In Contract

July 31, 2018 - 2:15 pm

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A union representing hundreds of janitors who clean many downtown Detroit buildings says it has a new contract that will bring $15 an hour wages.

Service Employees International Union Local 1 announced Tuesday that a four-year contract has been ratified, averting a possible strike.

The union says the $15-an-hour wage will be reached in the third year of the contract, which also improves working conditions while ending months of bargaining.

Currently, according to union reps, some janitors are struggling on wages currently as low as $9.45 an hour.

"I'm really happy, happy, happy, happy that we made it, that we got it," said janitorial employee Bridgette Murray, who was among rank-and-file gathered downtown for the announcement. "Thank you, Jesus!" 

SEIU Local 1 represents more than 1,700 area janitors. Members had said they'd strike, if needed, if negotiations didn't reach a deal. The current contract was up this week. 

Paulette Compass, who cleans the city-county building, said the boost in pay couldn't come at a better time. 

"I work hard, I work hard...eight hours (a day), 40 hours a week to provide for my family," she told WWJ's Charlie Langton, "to have a decent living."

The union -- which also represents security officers, food service workers and others across the Midwest -- hopes others will follow their lead. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.