Janitor union members ratify new deal to hike pay to $15 per hour next 3 years

Seventeen hundred unionized janitors were wearing badges that said "Ready to Strike" on Tuesday.

"We want a $15 wage in three years (so it will be better for our) families in our communities," said LaTisha Pinkard, a janitor at the Renaissance Center.

"They were not kidding, folks were ready to walk," said Stephanie Arellano, director SEIU Local 1. "It made a big difference."

And maybe the strike threat had various employers giving in, and all agreed to a new four-year deal whereby janitors would be paid $15 an hour phased in over the next three years.  

"Fifteen an hour is only a beginning, but it is enough to get the ball rolling," said Terrance McDonald, member SEIU Janitor Union 2. 

And the ball will be rolling for about 500 janitors from the Detroit Public Schools, about 250 at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and many around the city who clean various buildings.   

"We started a lot higher than $15 and then each side moves closer to the middle - and that's what we did," 

The janitors ratified the contract on Saturday. They are happy. But now that the janitors have a contract, could other city workers to get raises?

"Yes, there is, there is definitely a need for working class families across this entire city that have been fighting for an increase in minimum wage to at least $15 an hour," said Councilwoman Mary Sheffield.

Now the new contract for the janitors starts August 1. But for the city workers.

FOX 2: "Did I hear you correctly that maybe all city workers in Detroit could be getting $15 an hour?"

"Our hope is that we can begin to look internally and see how we can begin to look at full-time city employees, to start them at a baseline of $15 an hour." Sheffield said. "We have to see what the fiscal impact would be first. That's what our budget and finance committee is doing right now."