On Saturday, June 29, SEIU6 janitors voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new 4-year contract that protects their healthcare, raises wages, and strengthens their seniority rights. Nearly 4,000 janitors in King County will be covered under the new agreement, which will take effect July 1, 2024.

The contract ratification comes after weeks of public actions by janitors, who had organized large rallies to demand a fair contract and had voted to authorize a strike. 

“We were ready to strike. Building after building was ready to walk out. But in the end, they met us with respect at the bargaining table,” said Anthony Simpson, union janitorial foreman and bargaining team member. 

The new contract ties janitorial wage increases with annual minimum wage increases in Seattle and King County, adding a differential for experienced janitors. Janitors with over 10 years’ experience will see some of the largest increases, with raises totaling a minimum of $4.50 by the end of the contract. 

“The most important victory we have is our healthcare. The companies wanted to do cost-sharing with us. But Seattle union janitors have full-family employer-paid healthcare that we won in the streets years ago and we will not let it go.  Ask any janitor; it is the most important thing. So we are happy we are keeping the quality of this medical with no cost sharing.” —Amir Kalabic, union janitorial foreman and executive board member

The new contract includes stronger language for determining seniority, protections for janitors returning to work after an extended leave, a new paid holiday, increased employer contributions to the janitors health and welfare trust, and establishment of a new training fund. The total increased cost to employers over the life of the contract is $57.7 million. 

“La fuerza que motivó e impulsó la victoria en este contrato fueron el trabajo en equipo, nuestra unión, y el esfuerzo en conjunto para lograr el objetivo, nuestros derechos como trabajadores son nuestra prioridad y está por encima de los intereses económicos de las empresas, se logró el propósito.” —Miguel Rodrigues, union floor waxer and bargaining team member

“We are proud of how our union showed up this campaign. We had to fight for what we won and our teamwork paid off. We took a step forward for janitors, for our families, for immigrant workers, and for racial justice. And we won’t stop here. We will continue to fight for justice all the way to the next contract.” —SEIU6 President Zenia Javalera