"We want to ensure all our properties have labor peace. We want to make sure people are treated fairly," said John Rulli, chief operating officer of operating properties for Simon.
Simon reached an agreement with the Service Employees International Union. Simon, like most mall owners, is not the direct employer of its janitors. That work is subcontracted out. So the cost for the higher salary will be passed on to contractors.
Update: The deal is much larger than the initial story indicates. Westfield has also reached an agreement with SEIU. Overall, about 5,000 workers at Simon and Westfield malls will be able to form a union, get raises and get health insurance.
For a while, SEIU was running a Web site Inside Malls that featured stories about the employment conditions of mall workers. But that site seems to have been taken down.