Several janitorial firms operating in the Indianapolis area have agreed to negotiate a contract with the Service Employees International Union, which has been holding protests and other events downtown for two years to try to force the talks.

Meanwhile, a clergy group that backs the union is taking its campaign against Indianapolis-based HDG Mansur Group to Islamic investors in the hope of persuading them to avoid investing in HDG Mansur until the Indianapolis company meets the clergy’s definition of treating the workers well.

HDG Mansur owns Market Tower, a downtown office tower that has been the site of frequent protests. The Indianapolis-based janitorial firm that cleans Market Tower, Executive Management Services Inc., is not taking part in the negotiations.

Rather, the company today planned to file with the National Labor Relations Board 33 charges of unfair labor practices against the union.

The flurry of activity is the latest in a two-year struggle between the union, janitorial firms and property owners.

The union and clergy group, Chicago-based Interfaith Worker Justice, say janitors in the city are underpaid. Largely due to pressure from union backers, janitorial firms in Cincinnati negotiated a five-year contract this summer that shifts wages to $9.80 an hour from the current $7.05; last week, peer companies in Columbus, Ohio, negotiated a contract that starts workers at $7.65 an hour and escalates wages to $10 an hour by 2012. (MORE)


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