The union representing Boston janitors and the Maintenance Contractors of New England (MCNE) representing area cleaning companies (see WIT?s for Oct. 8, and Sep. 3, 2002) reached a tentative five-year contract agreement under which the companies will begin offering free health insurance in the third year of the contract to 1,000 part-time employees working at the biggest buildings. In addition to the health benefits that had formed a central part of the janitors? demands, the contract will for the first time provide all janitors with two sick days per year, and will end wage discrepancies between full- and part-time workers as both groups? pay increases to $12.95 an hour over the life of the contract with an additional $0.20 for long-term employees. The agreement ends a three-and-a-half-week strike that brought out 2,000 of the 10,000 members of Local 254 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in targeted strikes against MCNE cleaning companies responsible for selected high profile buildings (WIT for Sep. 9, 2002), and will be voted on by union members in the coming week.