SOURCE: Justice for Janitors

Justice for Janitors

July 26, 2015 09:00 ET

Cleaners Across Ottawa Overwhelmingly Approve City-Wide Strike Mandate

2,500 Janitors Could Start Rotating Walkouts First Week in August

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - July 26, 2015) - The majority of the city's private sector cleaners could be setting up picket lines soon -- and that includes government buildings.

"A work stoppage is not what we want," said Lyne Giard, a member of SEIU Local 2 and part of the bargaining committee. "What we want is a contract that will provide a pathway out of poverty for cleaners in Ottawa and health benefits for our families. But our employers don't seem to agree, so we're left with little choice but to consider going out on strike."

Close to one third of cleaners in the City of Ottawa work in federally owned buildings -- the government contracts the cleaning work out to private companies. Most cleaners earn as little as $11.50 per hour and have no medical benefits.

The federal government is the largest single property owner in the City of Ottawa. They own approximately 37% of the square footage in the market, including commercial office space, warehouses, museums and other properties.

After weeks of negotiations, the employers and the union remain far apart. Over the last couple of weeks, a majority of workers from all the companies at the negotiation table overwhelmingly approved a strike mandate.

SEIU says if the cleaners are unable to make satisfactory progress at negotiations on Thursday, second round voting at work locations for individual building walkouts will begin. Cleaners will be in a legal position to begin our rotating strikes across the city next week.

The Service Employees International Union is the largest and fastest growing union in North America, with 100,000 workers in Canada and two million workers across Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico.

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