By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Janitors and office-cleaners in center city buildings voted Wednesday to authorize a strike if they can’t work out a new contract by the time the current one expires next month. The vote is intended to strengthen the union’s hand at the bargaining table.

The 2,600 workers take care of 94 office buildings, including the Comcast Center and Liberty place. Their contract with the building owners association expires October 15th but union president Wayne MacManiman says there’s still no offer on the table for money and benefits.

“They don’t seem to be hard pressing, it’s just that with employers all of a sudden attacking workers to have them pay more of their health care– that threat has not been made but– we’re certainly preparing for it since that seems to be the trend.”

MacManiman says his members earn just above the poverty line and couldn’t afford to pay for health care and the strike authorization gives him a stronger hand should that become a demand but he says, he wants a contract not a strike.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio

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