As seen in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

When 2,350 unionized janitors and maintenance workers decide whether to ratify their new contract Sunday, they will be voting on provisions almost unheard of in today's employment landscape.

Their health-care benefits will expand, not contract. Under terms of their four-year contract, full-time janitors no longer will pay premiums to cover their families.

The two sides reached an agreement 20 minutes before the strike deadline.

"The trend in recent years has been in cost-shifting to employees, and given rising health-care costs, the trend has not been for employers to take on additional costs," said Patrice Mareschal, an associate professor who teaches labor relations at Rutgers University in Camden.

"This is a big victory for the Service Employees International Union," she said.

Union members clean and maintain 67 office buildings in Center City, including Centre Square, Liberty Place and the Bell Atlantic Building.

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