The vote on Saturday comes as their contract is set to expire at month's end. Janitors complain that employers offer them as few as 18 hours a week, a move that prevents them from qualifying as fulltime workers and deny them access to insurance provided by employers.
About 1,400 janitors represented by Local 615 of the Service Employees International Union voted Saturday by a standing vote to authorize a strike. The union cited reports of workers being met with illegal threats and intimidation.
The Local 615 of the SEIU represents 18,000 property service workers — including 14,000 janitors — in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The union says more fulltime jobs creates stronger economies.