Cleaners reach tentative deal with employer Best Service Pros
Christine Beyleveldt // News Editor
Cleaners at Capilano University had set the stage to walk off the job on Monday, Feb. 19. The strike however, was averted after they reached a tentative agreement on Thursday, Feb. 15. The cleaners have been bargaining with their employer, Best Service Pros, since September after joining Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2 and its campaign Justice for Janitors.
“Today was the first time after months of bargaining that Best started taking us seriously and were able to offer us something more than poverty wages,” said cleaner Delia Tanza, who is also a member of the bargaining committee. Best Service Pros won the tendering process and the right to hire cleaners for CapU in 2015. The 29 cleaners employed by Best Service Pros at CapU are paid between $11.50 and $12 per hour, well below the living wage, which is slightly over $20 per hour in Vancouver. Many of the cleaners, including Tanza, have families to provide for and have taken on second jobs to be able to afford their living expenses.
“There were definitely times when we felt tired and frustrated, but this all goes to show when workers come together and refuse to give up, we can make real gains for ourselves and our families,” said Tanza. The deal comes just two days after cleaners voted unanimously in favour of striking.