About 250 janitors represented by the Service Employees International Union walked off the job at nine buildings this week in a continuing dispute over renewal of a contract that expired in May.
Renee Asher, assistant director of communications for the union in Washington, said the walkouts took place Tuesday night at buildings the janitors clean downtown and in Greenway Plaza.
"They're not going back until they go back to the table," said Asher, referring to negotiations between the janitors and building contractors.
Asher also said Vice President Joe Biden is expected to meet with four janitors Thursday in Houston.
The vice president is to speak to the convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The janitors will have a few minutes to talk to Biden about their concerns, she said.
Biden's office did not return a call seeking confirmation of the meeting.
The janitors' contract expired May 31. There have been no negotiations since then on behalf of the 3,200 janitors who are represented by SEIU, the union said.
The janitors are seeking a raise from $8.35 to $10 an hour. Union officials have said the companies have proposed a contract that would raise hourly pay to $8.85 by 2016.
Officials of cleaning companies could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but a spokesman for some of them has said previously that their proposal includes additional employer contributions for health insurance.
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