Wild cheers as SEIU-USWW janitors hear contract has $15 an hour starting May 1 to $16.50 by 2019. pic.twitter.com/0GPHhloMgO— Beth Willon (@bethwillon) May 2, 2016
The union representing thousands of service workers who clean the offices, halls, and bathrooms of companies like Facebook and Google is scheduled to vote today on whether or not to authorize a strike. The Business Times reports that SEIU United Service Workers West is currently in the process of negotiating a new contract for its 8,000 Bay Area members, and will likely strike if a contract has not been agreed upon by Saturday. The vote today, if passed, would allow for that strike to go forward should no agreement be reached.
SFist has reached out directly to a union representative for vote results and comments, but has not heard back as of press time.
It is important to note that negotiations are taking place between the union and various cleaning companies — not Facebook or Google directly. However, as the tech companies contract with the cleaning companies that employee the union janitors, any strike would directly impact the cleanliness of 1 Hacker Way's toilets.
As of the end of April, union workers have officially been working without a contract, and a press release sent out by SEIU made clear that negotiations have been taking place in a tense atmosphere. "Throughout bargaining, janitorial contractors have intimidated, threatened and retaliated against janitors for standing together to uphold their rights," reads the statement. "Janitors will also decide whether or not to strike in protest of unlawful practices. [...] In addition to demands for a living wage, bargaining negotiations have focused on raising standards in a broken industry riddled with harassment, wage theft, and exploitation of janitors."
For an industry known for catering to its employees' every need — think free food, laundry, and rides to work — that it soon may no longer be able to guarantee clean bathrooms for its workers is a bit of an unexpected turn. Hmm, maybe they should look into hiring HomeJoy? Oh, wait.