DENVER (KDVR) — Janitors at Denver International Airport were on strike for less than 12 hours before reaching an agreement to end the dispute.
Three hundred and fifty employees contracted by Flagship Facility Services and represented by Service Employees International Union Local 105 are no longer holding out of work.
“The Janitors that keep this airport clean and safe stood strong,” said Tikdem Atsbaha, a janitor of 18 years. “We walked off the job united, and we won historic wages and workload protections for janitors at this airport. This agreement is good for janitors, it’s good for our communities, and it’s good for our airport.”
The group is responsible for maintaining cleanliness and sanitation in the main and terminal concourses at DIA. A raise amounting to $4 per hour over the next three years was agreed upon, as well as safer working conditions and paid time off. Wages are currently at approximately $17 per hour.
“I’m deeply proud of our members for joining together, being tenacious, and staying unified,” said SEIU Local 105 President Ron Ruggiero. “They fought together for a contract that treated them like the heroes they’ve been called for almost two years. This contract isn’t just good for Janitors, it’s good for all airport workers. Together, these Janitors are fighting to raise the standard and make a better airport for everyone.”
Ruggiero told FOX31, “they’ve been essential workers for the past 20 months of this pandemic, I think what’s important for all of us to remember is that when this pandemic started there weren’t even enough masks for everyone.”
FOX31 spoke with janitors who danced to a band playing near the airport hotel during a celebration rally. “At the end of the day, we succeed and we deserve it,” one person said.
DIA provided a statement saying the airport worked closely with the parties involved to minimize any disruption in service or impact to passengers.
Flagship told FOX31 it was prepared to uphold a clean and safe environment.
The next step in the process is for the janitors to vote on the amended contract, which is expected in the coming week. Employees will resume work immediately.