CHICAGO, (UPI) — A services employees union in Chicago said rank-and-file members have authorized a strike if a deal is not struck by Sunday, when their contract expires.
The Services Employees International Union Local 1, which represents 13,000 custodians, is holding talks, separately, with management firms that cover downtown Chicago and outlying suburbs, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday.
The newspaper said 4,000 union members clean and maintain commercial buildings downtown, while 3,000 work in suburban buildings. An additional 2,000 union members work in public city buildings, including schools, and 3,500 work in area shopping malls.
“The big issues are funding (health) insurance enough and wages,” said Tom Balanoff, SEIU Local 1 president.
Balanoff said the Building Owners and Management Association has “made progress towards insurance, but we’re not there yet. On wages, we’re far apart.”
The wage for janitors is $15.25 per hour, the union said.
Michael Cornicelli, executive vice president of BOMA, said he was “cautiously optimistic” a deal can be reached before the strike deadline.