MIAMI JANITORS GET A RAISE BUT STAY ON STRIKE-Andrew Stelzer

03/17/06

The University of Miami said Thursday it would immediately raise the minimum wages of its contract employees, including striking janitors and groundskeepers, by at least 25 percent. But union leaders said the strike over unfair labor practices would continue.

The new policy will apply to about 900 workers, not just janitors.

The current base hourly pay is $6.40 an hour, the state minimum wage. The new hourly minimum for food service workers will be $8; $8.55 for housekeepers; and $9.30 for landscapers. It applies to all its contractors, not just those from UNICCO.

Compensation will also be adjusted for years on the job and merit. Healthcare benefits, including medical, dental and vision plans, will also be offered.

The university Board of Trustees has already approved school President Donna Shalala's policy.

Some university janitors and other workers have been on strike for three weeks. The UNICCO Service Co. workers want to join the Service Employees' International Union.

The university has maintained that it was a neutral party in the strike.

Renee Asher is with the SEIU local 11, which has been working with the janitors on their campaign, she told WMNF that the pay raise is a major victory for the workers, but they are staying on strike because they still are not being allowed to organize a union.

RENEE ASHER ON JANITORS RAISE

That was Renee Asher with SEIU local 11. For more information about the janitors strike, log onto www.standum.org

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