in today's miami herald:
UM janitors to vote on union today
BY NIALA BOODHOO
University of Miami janitors will vote this afternoon to approve the first union contract with the private school, the Service Employees International Union said.
SEIU said it had reached a tentative agreement with contractor UNICCO Services Company on a new employee contract for the UM workers.
Some janitors held a months-long strike at the university last spring in protest over the right to organize. After nine weeks of the walkout and protests from some students, faculty and clergy -- including a hunger strike -- the university, Unicco and the union reached an agreement in May on how the workers could vote for a union.
A majority of the janitors voted for the union earlier this summer, and negotiations on the contract began soon after.
The vote will be at 1 p.m. today, SEIU said.
Just before the strike began, UM announced it would raise wages for the workers by at least 25 percent.
Details of the contract were not provided, although the union said the tentative agreement provided for higher wages, more vacation time and better healthcare coverage for the 400 workers.
Emboldened by its success at UM, union activists have started organizing campaigns at Nova Southeastern and Florida International Universities.