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Recent News

A large group of people wearing purple SEIU Local 49 shirts hold up a banner that says, "Respetanos, Proteganos, Paganos" (Respect Us, Protect Us, Pay Us in Spanish)

Portland Metro Janitors Kick off Bargaining as Contract Nears Expiration

  Portland janitors who work for many of the metro area’s largest commercial building rally for fair wages and a strong contract. Union janitors who clean the metro area’s largest commercial buildings rallied on May 31 to demand fair wage increases and to protect their affordable healthcare as their contract opened for bargaining. Their current contract expires on June 30, 2024.     Janitors addressed the crowd, sharing stories of what a fair wage increase and maintaining union benefits would mean for their families. Janitors also spoke with pride about the ongoing work they have been doing to clean and maintain our commercial spaces, despite the significant challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the social unrest that followed. As Portland emerges from these years of instability, janitors continue to invest their skill and expertise into rebuilding and reimagining the kind of city that Portland can become. They are eager to partner with building owners to restore and reimagine everything our commercial spaces can offer. Thousands of union janitors, along with union security officers, are currently bargaining their next contract. Keep watching this space for news and updates of this fight for a fair contract! MSN: Contract negotiations underway for Portland-area janitors Portland Mercury: As Portland’s White Collar Employees Return to Offices, Janitors Push For Fair Wages, Benefits

Unico Champions Green Cleaning in Downtown Portland with Innovative Training for Union Janitors

Green Janitor Health Certification Program seeking new building manager partners. In downtown Portland, Unico is leading the way in green cleaning. Over the last two years, they’ve trained ​​​​​​29 union janitors at their commercial properties as part of the Green Janitor Health Certification Program. The Green Janitor Health Certification Program provides comprehensive training to janitorial staff about practices that meet the latest energy, water, and green initiative standards. It covers topics like energy efficiency, recycling, waste management, water conservation, and more. Through this program, janitors are encouraged to take part in the building’s goals of improving energy efficiency and building health. This means sharing recommendations on improvements to their worksites, such as using more environmentally friendly cleaning products, materials, or equipment, and suggesting other ways to carry out the best green practices in their daily work. The program is truly a win-win for building owners and for union janitors. Building owners can offer tenants their participation in the program as a distinct selling point—an additional amenity that saves money and helps meet corporate social responsibility goals.​​ Additionally, buildings receive an additional point on LEED certification once janitors have graduated from the program. Janitors learn valuable new skills, earn a grant-funded training premium, and those who complete the 30-hour program obtain a certification and have the potential to earn higher wages. Most importantly, the program ​​​​​​​​gets results: Past studies have found that buildings who participated in the program used 5.6% less electricity than buildings that did not, and 76% of buildings that participated saw a reduction in electricity and water usage. This program is​ a partnership between SEIU Local 49, the SEIU Education & Support Fund, and the U.S. Green Building  Council.​ ​​​Currently, the Green Janitor program is only available to buildings and janitorial contractors with workers covered under bargaining agreements with SEIU Local 49. ​ With greater investment from additional building owners committed to green practices, we ​look forward to ​expand​ing​ the​ Green Janitor​ program and help restore and reimagine Portland’s place as a destination for business​. Portland Business Journal: Another way to be green in commercial real estate tested at Moda Tower To learn more about bringing the program to your commercial properties, contact Maggie Long, SEIU Local 49: maggiel@seiu49.org or 503.236.4949 ext. 256

"Union janitors and security officers keep Portland open for business. Invest in Us."

“Invest in Us”: Billboard Encourages Downtown Building Owners to Support Union Janitors and Security Officers

Billboard showcases proud members of SEIU Local 49, highlighting the role they play in keeping our communities thriving. Janitors and security officers are a critical part of keeping Portland open for business and come to work every day to keep Portland buildings clean, safe, and secure. As SEIU Local 49 janitors and security officers continue bargaining for fair contracts, their smiling faces are now featured on a billboard in downtown Portland. The sign’s simple but powerful message, “Invest in Us” seeks to remind industry decision-makers that you need to continue investing in responsible, union contractors if you want the best for Portland’s buildings and for our city!


Our Campaign

As the national movement for good jobs and fair wages swells, janitors, security officers, and airport workers from across the country are standing up to raise standards and improve jobs for all workers in our communities.

Locally in Portland and SW Washington, janitors, security officers, and airport workers have joined together to raise standards, improve jobs, and highlight the issues associated with irresponsible janitorial and security contractors such as high-turnover, low pay, lack of dependability, lack of affordable healthcare, and all-around lower standards.

By using responsible contractors in their market, building owners and other clients of subcontractors can take steps to ensure that subcontracted workers hold safe, good jobs and are treated with respect. Responsible contracting reduces the risk of labor disruption and lowers turnover—thereby increasing efficiency and workplace stability—by providing fair wages and benefits that workers deserve.