Health Coverage at Center of Janitor Contract Negotiations
Service Employees International Union Local 1877 representing Los Angeles janitors' union, which sought to maintain full health care coverage for their 9,000 members and their families in addition to wage increases, reached a tentative agreement Thursday morning with janitorial contractors that is expected to avert a strike, the Los Angeles Times reports. The five-year contract, which was drawn up after all-night negotiations and was expected to be ratified by the union on Friday, includes wage and benefits increases of 36% over the life of the contract, including full health care coverage. According to the Times, the health insurance component of the contract translates into an immediate 80-cent-per-hour increase for the janitors (Cleeland, Los Angeles Times, 5/2). In related news, Orange County's janitor's union on Saturday approved a five-year contract that will increase wages and health care benefits, the Orange County Register reports. The contract will expand health coverage to union members families beginning in 2005 and will increase their hourly wage from $7.45 currently to $8.65 by 2007 (Milbourn, Orange County Register, 5/4).
Meanwhile, 5,000 janitors in Silicon Valley and 2,000 in the East Bay decided Thursday that they would try negotiating with cleaning companies today; if no resolution can be reached, they will meet May 17 to decide whether to authorize a strike. The janitors, whose contract expired on Wednesday, have been asked to increase their health care premium contributions from $77 per month to $145 per month, which they said was prohibitive. However, Jim Beard, the chief negotiator for the cleaning companies that employ the workers, said the increase only would affect the 51% of workers who were insured by Kaiser Permanente (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.