You are here

Justice for Janitors movement wins big in Toronto

Janitors at Fight for $15 and Fairness rally
Ritch Whyman

April 17, 2019
In the last week of March thousands of workers in the janitorial industry made a historic breakthrough by winning a pension plan in their recent round of collective bargaining.

For the last decade members of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 2’s Justice for Janitors movement have been fighting against an industry rife with abuse and sub-contracting schemes. Over the past 10 years nearly 4,000 workers have joined the union in Toronto and thousands in other cities such as Ottawa and Vancouver have joined as well. They have been able to win health, dental and vision care benefits, above inflation wage increases, and personal emergency days.

This past year the fight was focused on beating back the employers and their clients, including many of the wealthiest property management firms and owners in the world and winning retirement security. Also on the agenda was recouping the wages lost when the Ford government cancelled the $15 minimum wage hike.

Toronto cleaners voted in favour of an agreement that won them wage increases above the industrial norm that will see cleaners wages go above the $15.00/hr mark and by the end of the agreement get cleaners close to and above $16.45/hr depending on the job classifications.

Most importantly they broke new ground by winning a pension plan slated to start in the 3rd year of the contract. With only 10% of private sector workers covered by defined benefit pension plans this victory opens the door for other workers to reverse the trend of employers, banks and governments eroding pensions.

This breakthrough further opens the door for several thousand cleaners in other unions to demand and win pensions in Toronto. It also puts cleaning companies in Ottawa on notice that close to 3,000 unionised cleaners there will also be demanding pensions. By 2022 over 10,000 contracted out cleaners in Ontario could be enrolled in pension plans.

By standing strong and pushing back, Toronto cleaners have shown that it is still possible to beat back the bosses attacks and win retirement security for all workers.



Featured Event


Visit our YouTube Channel for more videos: Our Youtube Channel
Visit our UStream Channel for live videos: Our Ustream Channel