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2,000 Delaware and Philadelphia Janitors Win Historic Post Pandemic Contract

December 13, 2023

Philadelphia, PA – 32BJ SEIU building workers announced today that they have reached a new contract agreement for 1,400 cleaners in Suburban Philadelphia and 600 janitors in Wilmington and New Castle County. 32BJ members voted to ratify the first post-pandemic contract between the union and building owners and contractors on Saturday, December 9th.  Entering negotiations during a time of historic challenges in the commercial office industry, 32BJ members were prepared to strike if necessary to protect the gains they’ve made. The current contract was set to expire on December 15th for Suburban Philly workers and December 30th for Delaware cleaners. 

The agreement includes:

  • Highest wage increases in the history of bargaining, with over 20% in raises throughout the contract
  • Protects full-time and part-time health benefits with no employee contribution
  • Juneteenth as an additional paid holiday
  • Enhanced pregnancy rights protections
  • Protections for workers who are displaced due to building renovations or conversions


Delaware Vote, Submitted Photo

“It’s a great feeling to know that the times we are living in, we were able to win a contract that allows us to provide for our families and keep up with the cost of living,” said Clarence Berry, Delaware 32BJ Cleaner and Bargaining Committee Member. “It took commitment and hard work. But at the end of the day, we came together to fight for a fair contract. We are one union, one fight, and as long as we stay together, we’re going to stay strong.”

“We risked our health and safety during the pandemic, while others stayed home. When businesses reopened, we were there to welcome tenants and ensure they were coming back to clean, safe offices,” said Marcelina Lemus, Suburban Philadelphia 32BJ Cleaner and Bargaining Committee Member. “We are thankful that we were able to win a fair contract that recognizes our sacrifices and hard work.”

“We are happy to have reached an agreement that protects our members’ healthcare and provides historic wage increases that will make a significant difference in their lives, said Daisy Cruz, Mid Atlantic 1201 District Leader for 32BJ SEIU. “I want to thank the employers for working in good faith to reach a fair deal for both sides. We look forward to continuing to work together so that we can protect and create good union jobs that fuel our local economy.”

The new agreement, which consolidates the previously separate Delaware and Suburban Philadelphia contracts into a single, unified agreement, follows weeks of negotiations and rallies in Wilmington and Conshohocken.

The contract represents one of several 32BJ labor agreements covering 70,000 commercial cleaners throughout the East Coast that are being bargained for this year. Janitors in Downtown PhiladelphiaPittsburghBoston, and the Washington DC area, recently won historic wage increases, an additional holiday, and other job improvements, as well as protected their health benefits.

With more than 175,000 members in 12 states, including more than 20,000 in Pennsylvania alone, 32BJ SEIU is the country’s largest property service workers’ union.