Cleaners employed by SSC Services for Education, who clean Virginia Commonwealth University, are celebrating their historic victory. They voted in unison to ratify their first-ever union contract right in the heart of the Confederacy, becoming SEIU 32BJ’s first members in Richmond.
Their three-year contract includes:
- A $4 hourly wage increase, bringing up their wages from $12 to $16.30
- 12 additional paid days off
- a reduction in cleaners’ health insurance premiums
"We are all so, so excited about 32BJ because we thought this contract was too good to be true," said Angela Arrington, a mother of three who takes a lot of pride in keeping the Hunton House study lounge safe and clean for students and staff. "How many 58-year olds do you know making just $12.24 an hour? I had to rob Peter to pay Paul, but now I can improve my credit score so I can try to get a mortgage. I can also now pay for health insurance and not lose pay to see the doctor which is a matter of life and death since I had a heart attack in January."
Because of their organizing efforts, cleaners like Angela will see big changes in their lives. This victory is one of many to come in the South as these cleaners show us that when you stand up, speak up, and organize- YOU CAN WIN.