RALLY AT LANDMARK NORTH JERSEY OFFICE BUILDING PROTESTS SHABBY TREATMENT OF CLEANING WORKERS
–Workers at Glenpointe Office Centre Lost Jobs and Their Toehold in the Middle Class at the Hands of Sanzari Enterprises’ New Cleaning Contractor–
Trenton, NJ – September 14, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Dozens of union members and community supporters rallied Tuesday afternoon outside the landmark Glenpointe Office Centre to protest the firing of 18 hard-working office cleaners. The cleaners, some of whom had been working at the building for years, were abruptly fired effective September 1st when building owner Sanzari Enterprises replaced its union cleaning contractor with a non-union contractor that is ironically named Union Building Services (UBS).
“These eighteen men and women worked hard every day to keep the Glenpointe Office Centre clean and pleasant for all of the people who have offices there,” said Kevin Brown, New Jersey State Director for 32BJ SEIU. “Now because of Sanzari Enterprises hiring a non-union contractor, these workers have been tossed out on the streets. This kind of callous disregard for workers is a big reason why so many working families are struggling today.”
The cleaning jobs at Glenpointe were good jobs with wages of up to $11.25 an hour, paid vacation days, and health insurance for part-time as well as full-time workers. That is in contrast to the compensation of $7.50 an hour with few benefits which cleaning workers at the site earned prior to their becoming members of 32BJ.
Lydia Luna, who has cleaned bathrooms at Glenpointe Office Centre for the past five years, said she learned she would be losing her job a little more than a week before it happened. Her health benefits are important to her because she suffers from osteoporosis and asthma. Now she is frightened about losing her insurance as well as her income.
“I feel very bad because where am I going to find another job so fast?” Lydia said. “I am stuck with no work, no money to pay my bills.”
UBS has refused to hire even one of the 18 union members who cleaned the office center despite repeated attempts by the workers to apply for those jobs, Brown said.
With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 8,000 in New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country and one of the fastest-growing in the state.