News

Union janitors to return to City Hall, with less pay

The janitors who lost their jobs cleaning the city's buildings this year may be rehired by a surprisingly cheap union contractor this summer. City Council members on Tuesday declined to require that their wages and benefits be restored.

The council was asked to weigh in on the issue of pay after janitors picketed City Hall in November. After a fallout with the previous contractor, GCA, over the city's willingness to pay for rising healthcare costs, the city had switched temporarily to a non-union janitorial services contractor, IMS, which significantly cut pay and hours, and eliminated healthcare benefits for the five city janitors it rehired.

One city janitor told the council on Tuesday that the cuts felt like "a slap in the face" and asked members to "correct these wrongs that have been to me and others that have kept your buildings clean for 10 years."

"I am proud of my work here," she said. "Please respect our hard work."

Voting 5-1, council members passed a motion to hire a janitorial services contractor within a year or two. Mayor John Inks was opposed and member Mike Kasperzak was absent.

The city may hire a union-organized janitorial service even sooner, as city officials mull over seven bids for a new janitorial services contract to be awarded in July. Three of the seven bidding contractors are union and provide health benefits.

At least initially, using a union contractor doesn't cost more than a non-union contractor, city officials said. Five of the seven bidders said costs for the city would not change to comply with a Service Employee's International Union contract for Bay Area janitors. Six of the seven bidders have higher minimum wages than the lowest rung on the SEIU's Bay Area pay scale for janitors, which pays first-year janitors $8.50 an hour.

Council members declined a request by union officials to restore wages lost by the janitors by advancing pay on the scale used in the SEIU contract, which maxes out at $14.04 an hour after four years. Public works director Mike Fuller said that would cost the city more than is budgeted this year for janitorial services, based on what the city is paying its current contractor.

"It's tough to live on $8.50 an hour in this region," said Dennis Drodge, political director of the South Bay AFL-CIO, referring to the starting wage on the SEIU scale. "That's why San Jose raised the minimum wage."

Mayor Inks questioned the assertion that $8.50 an hour was not enough to live on. He said a union contractor shouldn't be required, as it might go against "what's the best value for the city" and be an irresponsible use of taxpayer money.

SEIU officials noted that the union is in a labor dispute with the city's current contractor, IMS, because it had signed onto the SEIU's Bay Area-wide agreement but had not been abiding by the agreement with its janitors in Mountain View's city buildings.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 28, 2013 at 11:49 am

The City Council will do anything to ensure the fat cats and the developers get all the money that they can get.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by makes sense
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 28, 2013 at 11:50 am

The janitors can forage for food among the 125 trees bearing apricots, figs, avocados, peaches, apples, oranges and plums.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 28, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I don't really care if the Janitors are union or non-union.. As stewards of our tax dollares and as such, do your job.
Best choice ? Check out the SEIU... it is a socialist (communist?) front organization, and what ever the City Fathers and Mothers do, it should NOT be to crawl into bed with the SEIU..

Google SEIU and learn about their ideaology...

Bye George


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Honor Spitz
a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I hope that the City of Mtn. View and the janitorial folks can come to an agreement soon. Its a near impossibility for anyone to live on an $8.50 an hour wage in this area/these days; even $10 an hour (as those who now work in San Jose earn) isn't really going to butter the toast. I gather that the janitorial staff want to work, that they take pride in what they do; they do need to be compensated properly in a realistic manner though. Mtn. View has a wonderful reputation for good city management; surely some bright minds there can come up with a mutually agreeable solution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm

"Mayor Inks questioned the assertion that $8.50 an hour was not enough to live on. He said a union contractor shouldn't be required, as it might go against 'what's the best value for the city' and be an irresponsible use of taxpayer money."

I'd like to see that bloated gasbag live on $8.50 an hour. I'd pay to see that. It'd make a great reality show.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jessica Guinn
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm

This whole article, issue, and particularly Mayor Inks response brought this website to mind: Web Link

Here is a great example of increasing income inequality. Deplorable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Inks
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Correct me if I am wrong. At $8.50 per hour, a person would gross about $17,680 per year.

At that rate, you can apply to PGE to get a discount on monthly bill because you do not meet their lowest wage of $22,980 for a 1 person household.

It is sad that you would think that is an acceptable living in Mtn View. I think a bit more realization of this City that you work for is in order.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

What is "wage inequality"? Do people who use that term think all jobs should pay the same rate? And who would set that rate I wonder?

Sorry people, but not all jobs should cover a house, braces for the kids, and a car in the garage.

Some jobs are menial and are compensated accordingly.

Think about it, how hard is it to empty trash cans and vacuum the floor?

On top of that these are tax dollars we're talking about here. No more welfare. You want a job that pays better and give you medical coverage go find it. The City should be pinching every penny they take from us.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Otto Maddox, you are a sterling example of everything that's wrong with post-Reagan America.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm

$17,680 per year wouldn't even cover rent in this godforsaken Valley. Get a clue.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Perry
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm

17K won't even cover rent? True.

This is because we zone for far more office space than homes. If you add 10,000 new workers and 2000 new homes, you will see prices rise and thousands of low income wage earners forced out of the city.

Changing the salary of a couple dozen janitors doesn't change the overall inequality. The same number of low income people are forced out of the city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Quotations From Chairman Otto:

"Sorry people, but not all jobs should cover a house, braces for the kids, and a car in the garage."

At $17,680 a year, living in this Valley, those janitorial jobs won't pay the rent on a slum dwelling, plenty of which exist in Mountain View if you afford the rent. This city has no standards whatsoever regarding rental properties, and neither does Santa Clara County. Nobody in this city or county administration cares one bit if your landlord is renting you an apartment that doesn't even meet California Code standards. Nobody.

A car is necessary to live and work here. At $17,680 a year, that car would probably have to be unregistered and uninsured.

At $17, 680 a year, you couldn't afford to have a child, let alone put braces on the kid's teeth.

"Some jobs are menial and are compensated accordingly."

And Jeff Bezos is worth 28.5 BILLION dollars, hires temps for his warehouses, treats the like third-world slave labor (no air conditioning, but enough money to spend on wrist/ankle monitors for each TEMPORARY worker getting the spectacular sum of $11.50 an hour. What exactly does Jeff Bezos DO that is worth 28.5 billion dollars? Can he walk on water or raise the dead?

"Think about it, how hard is it to empty trash cans and vacuum the floor?"

How hard is it to do lunch? That's about all the average CEO does. How many garbage cans have you emptied, Otto? How many floors have you vacuumed?

These workers are entitled to a fair wage and respect for their work. A fair wage in this area would be a minimum of $18 an hour. MINIMUM.

Employee wages should be fixed to a percentage of CEO salary roughly equivalent to a 20 to 1 ratio at the bottom, i'e. janitors. That'd solve the "minimum wage" problem immediately.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

Old Ben: I'd watch that show!

More realistically, I'd love for someone who says $8.50/hr is fair to simply put together a picture of how they could support a family on that wage. I'd particularly like to see a budget supplemented with:

* photos of the actual apartment you can afford and how you'll fit a family in there
* a meal plan and shopping list
* what happens when there's a medical problem
* what you'll live on when you're too old to work

If Mayor Inks comes up with that and then says $8.50/hour is a fair wage, I'll believe him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dual incomes
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

This is the valley where families have dual incomes. If that was the only income, for a family it wouldn't be much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Then show me how a dual-income family should support itself with wages like these, including how small children are taken care of if both parents are working at the same time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm

John Inks is quite clearly typical of this Valley: no heart whatsoever. He should be stripped of his assets and tossed into a minimum wage life. Maybe he'd grow a soul. It's the most compassionate thing I can think of for him, certainly better for him than exposure of his relationship with Prometheus,


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

Something I don't understand. The city council is spending millions to tear down affordable housing and taco shops, Rengstorff/Middlefield, to construct affordable housing (developer connection?).
But when it comes time to actually pay affordable wages "we are being responsible"?
Yes, what is the connection to Prometheus?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

Something I don't understand. The city council is spending millions to tear down affordable housing and taco shops, Rengstorff/Middlefield, to construct affordable housing (developer connection?).
But when it comes time to actually pay affordable wages "we are being responsible"?
Yes, what is the connection to Prometheus?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fed-up
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm


$8.50 is what I was making way back in 1981 as a young machinist trainee with a high school diploma, only a couple of years fresh in the work force. At the time, a nice 2-bedroom apartment was $250 per month, a loaf of bread - 50 cents max, gas was just over a dollar a gallon, cars cost 1/3rd to 1/4th what they cost today...

...and here we are over 30 years later and employers want to pay the same amount, if not less? Huh?


See the problem here? No wonder our economy is going in the tank. Most of the people who shop and buy stuff can't really do so anymore. The economic machine is broken, and our wealthy government folk won't fix it because they and their greedy kind are the source of the problem. Any sort of remedy would cost THEM money.

The U.S. is screwed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm

@fed up, I was making 3.30 cents on minimum wage back in 1982. So you were lucky to be making 8.50 back then.

@Lamb, These jobs are not for supporting families, but for transitinal job. If they want to make more money, they should be the major there then.




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