December 29, 2011 | last updated June 1, 2012 11:39 am

CT building cleaners strike averted

A strike by more than 2,000 cleaners of public buildings in Hartford and New Haven was averted when the union and the industry association reached a tentative agreement on pay raises.

Although the raises weren't specified, the agreement between the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ and the Hartford Area Cleaning Contractors Association call for the workers to get increases from their current hourly pay of $13.50 in downtown Hartford, $12.25 in suburban Hartford and $11 in New Haven.

The agreement covers both Hartford and New Haven contracts for the next four years. The workers retain their healthcare coverage.

The two sides negotiated since November for the contract expiring Jan. 1, and the union members voted to strike if an agreement wasn't reached by the deadline.

The breaking point in the negotiations came Tuesday and Wednesday when several Connecticut elected officials -- including Gov. Dannel Malloy -- told the two sides to avert a strike. The agreement was reached late Wednesday night.

The 2,000 cleaners covered under the contract clean buildings such as the State Capitol and Travelers' Tower in Hartford and the Connecticut Financial Center in New Haven.

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