Negotiations in a janitors strike of buildings in suburban San Diego broke down June 10 when a scheduled meeting between janitorial contractors and representatives from the Service Employees International Union, Local 1877, did not meet as scheduled.
SEIU said in a press release the meeting was called off by the building contractors “for no reason.”
Dick Davis, the labor negotiator for the contractors, said the meeting was canceled because both sides agreed there was no progress made, and another meeting would be a waste of time.
Joe Mansolillo, the federal mediator attempting to reach some settlement, said both sides would meet again “in the near future.”
Janitors are striking after a failure to secure a new labor agreement with building contractors for paid health insurance and higher wages.
Union officials said the janitors are averaging $7.60 an hour, or about $1,000 a month in take-home pay, and do not have health insurance.
Davis said the average wage is closer to $8 an hour.
“They’re asking for another $2.65 an hour for the health benefits, which is $445 an employee. They’re also asking for an 80 cents per hour raise that would cover three years,” he said. “You can’t have both.”
SEIU officials said the San Diego suburban real estate market is the last area in the state where janitors do not have health insurance. Davis said there are other areas where contractors also don’t pay for health insurance.
The janitors and SEIU said they have been encouraged in recent days by agreements from the Burnham Institute and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, two local employers that agreed to increase pay scales for janitors even if it means paying more for their contracted cleaning services.