Save the Date: NYC Rally on December 14

We are standing strong to defend the standards that our families and communities count on — and we’re taking our message to the street.What: Rally for a Fair Contract
When: Wednesday, December 14
Where: To Be Announced

 Flier, Rally (12/14/2011) – English/Español

I will be there on December 14 to fight for good jobs!

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NYC Office Cleaners Give Bargaining Committee Authority to Call a Strike

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Kwame Patterson 312-371-2485

Matt Nerzig             917-584-0787

 

32BJ of Service Employees International Union

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

 

NYC OFFICE CLEANERS GIVE BARGAINING COMMITTEE AUTHORITY TO CALL A STRIKE

–Strike Could Directly Affect 1,500 Commercial Office Buildings including  Rockefeller Center,

the Met Life Building, the Empire State Building and the Time-Warner Center —

 

New York, NY—Thousands of New York City office cleaners and commercial building workers voted Thursday to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike if necessary. Failure to reach a new contract by 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2012 could lead to a strike of more than 22,000 office cleaners at over 1,500 commercial office buildings citywide.

“The real estate industry’s demands to roll back the wage and benefit standards of lower middle class workers are unacceptable,” said Mike Fishman, President of 32BJ SEIU. “Today’s strike vote shows we are determined to keep our city a place that working families can afford to call home.”

The workers, who were joined at their meeting by Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), have been in contract talks with the Realty Advisory Board (RAB), an industry association representing most building owners, since November 15th.

“At a time when the commercial real estate industry is returning to form, the men and women who keep office buildings clean should get what they need to support their families in the most expensive city in the country,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. “Protecting good jobs will strengthen our struggling middle class and fuel the economy recovery we all need.”

The union strongly opposes an owner proposal to establish a two-tier wage and benefit structure for new hires, aimed at creating a lower second class of workers, as well as other measures that would make it harder for current and new workers to make ends meet in New York City.

“A two-tier wage system would be a giant leap backward for all workers because it drives down wages and benefits for years to come,” said Fishman.   “The industry’s sole purpose in creating a second tier of workers is to replace the first tier with lower paid workers.”

The top rate for commercial office cleaners represented by 32BJ is $22.65 an hour or $47,000 annually, significantly less than the household income that independent researchers have shown is necessary to support a family of four.

“Forty seven thousand dollars a year is not a lot of money in New York City,” said Enma Mehmedovic, who cleans the Sony Building in Midtown Manhattan. “I’m raising my two teenage children by myself. It takes two pay checks just to be able to buy my kids’ clothes and shoes.”

“Rolling back wages and benefits of the workers in these jobs makes no sense,” said Fishman.  “These workers live in the city with the highest cost of living in the country, and the real estate market here is the most profitable in the country.   Their wages afford them only a lower middle class standard of living.  Cutting wages and benefits would make it significantly harder for them to raise their families, and would hurt their communities and our city’s economy.”

Meanwhile, the $20 billion Manhattan commercial real estate industry has just experienced its busiest third quarter in three years — with sales activity reaching $6.3 billion, according to Crain’s. That puts 2011 on track to be the third highest total-sales year on record, surpassed only by the boom years of 2006 and 2007. In addition, there have been six straight quarters of rental gains with top quality buildings up 10.7 percent in the past 12 months, according to CoStar.

“Nobody wants a strike –least of all the men and women who keep New York City’s office buildings clean, but we must prepare for one if building owners insist on taking us down that path,” said Fishman.

With more than 120,000 members, including 70,000 in New York, 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country and the largest private-sector union in the state. For more information, visit www.standwithbuildingworkers.org .

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Contract Talks Open For Over 1,200 Suburban Philadelphia Office Cleaners

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Julie Karant: 646-584-9001

Eugenio Villasante: 646-285-1087

http://www.standwithbuildingworkers.org/

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 30, 2011

 

CONTRACT TALKS OPEN FOR OVER 1,200 SUBURBAN PHILADELPHIA OFFICE CLEANERS

Union Proposals Focus on Fair Wage Increases as Office Market Strengthens

Philadelphia, PA – Negotiations for a new union contract covering more than 1,200 commercial office cleaners in suburban Philadelphia began on Friday between 32BJ and representatives of the real estate industry. 32BJ presented its contract proposals to leaders representing the area’s major commercial office building owners, managers, and cleaning companies such as Shellville Facility Services, Allan Industries, Inc., and Professional Building Services, Inc. The contract is set to expire at 12:01 AM on December 16, 2011.

“Ensuring the men and women who keep our offices safe and clean receive family-sustaining wages is both fair and critical to strengthening our economy,” said Wayne MacManiman, 32BJ Mid-Atlantic Director. “The multi-million dollar real estate industry can afford to give hard-working cleaners the raise they deserve, and ensure that tenants receive the professional service they want.”

Wages for part-time workers are only $10.80 per hour ($11,232.00 annually). The federal poverty line for a family of four in the United States is $22,350 annually.

“The cost of living keeps going up but our wages don’t,” said Arnold Avila, an office cleaner and father of three working in King of Prussia. “It’s hard to keep up. We need raises so we can pay the bills.” Avila who earns just $10.60 per hour, works two jobs to make ends meet.

Several bright spots indicate that the office market in suburban Philadelphia is on the upswing. For example, leasing activity is improving, rents are on the rise, vacancy is declining, and many new office renovation projects are near completion.

More than 60,000 property service workers from Hartford, Conn., to Virginia are united in a campaign to secure new contracts that raise wage and benefit standards.

With more than 120,000 members in nine states, including 7,000 in Philadelphia, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.

# # #

New York City Office Cleaners to Hold Strike Vote

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Kwame Patterson: 212-388-3676; 312-371-2485

Matt Nerzig:          212-539-2882

 

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION            

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR:
Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 2PM

 

NEW YORK CITY OFFICE CLEANERS TO HOLD STRIKE VOTE

– Strike Could Directly Affect More Than 1,500 Office Buildings, including the Time-Warner Center,  

Rockefeller Center, the Met Life Building and the Empire State Building—

New York, NY—Thousands of New York City commercial office cleaners will vote Thursday to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike if necessary. Failure to reach a new contract by midnight, January 1, 2012, could prompt a strike of more than 22,000 apartment building workers at over 1,500 commercial office buildings throughout the city.

Thursday’s vote comes on the heels of the Realty Advisory Board’s (RAB), an industry association representing most of the City’s building owners, demand for workers to accept an aggressive rollback in wage and benefit standards. Contract negotiations between 32BJ SEIU and the RAB have been underway since November 15th.

WHAT:           NYC Office Building Workers Strike Vote and March

 

WHO:          –Thousands of New York City Office Cleaner

–Mike Fishman, President of 32BJ SEIU

–Mary Kay Henry, President of SEIU

WHEN:          Thursday, December 1, 2011

                        2PM: Strike Vote: Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers 2nd Floor (7th Ave & 53rd Street)

4PM: March: from Herald Square to Union Square

NOTE:
The strike vote meeting is closed to the press, but interviews with union officers and members can be arranged onsite

With more than 120,000 members, including 70,000 in New York, 32BJ is the largest private-sector union in the state. For more information, visit www.standwithbuildingworkers.org

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RAB Contract Proposals An Aggressive Attempt To Rollback Wages And Benefit Standards For Working New Yorkers

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Contact: Matt Nerzig: 212-539-2882

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

 

RAB CONTRACT PROPOSALS AN AGGRESSIVE ATTEMPT TO 

ROLLBACK WAGE AND BENEFIT STANDARDS FOR WORKING NEW YORKERS

 

The following statement is attributable to Mike Fishman, President of 32BJ SEIU:

“The contract proposals made today by the city’s major building owners on a new contract for 22,000 of the city’s commercial office cleaners are an aggressive attempt to rollback wage and benefit standards that working men and women depend on to support their families. In particular, proposals for establishing a two-tier staff structure, aimed at creating a lower second class of workers, and for placing restrictions on the political action of union members are unacceptable.”

“At a time when the $20 billion commercial real estate industry is returning to form, the men and women who keep office buildings clean should get the wages and benefits they need to support their families in the most expensive city in the country. Demanding cuts from a workforce that is barely making ends meet is wrong, economically unjustifiable and unacceptable.”

“In the best interests of the real estate industry, its tenants and workers, we call on the city’s major building owners to demonstrate responsible leadership by returning to the table with a fair contract proposal.”

 

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Congressman, State Senator Take Stand in Support of Good Jobs for 2,000 Office Building Cleaners

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Maia Davis:      201-396-4444

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, November 19, 2011

 

CONGRESSMAN, STATE SENATOR TAKE STAND IN SUPPORT OF GOOD JOBS FOR 2,000 OFFICE BUILDING CLEANERS

-  Office Building Cleaners March Through Downtown Hartford Following Meeting With Elected Officials -

Hartford, CT – Congressman Chris Murphy, State Senator John Fonfara and other elected officials told a packed meeting of a few hundred office building cleaners Saturday that they support their campaign for a new contract that provides good jobs. The midday meeting at Central Baptist Church was followed by a march of more than a hundred workers through downtown Hartford.

“Our city and state need more middle-class jobs that allow hardworking men and women to support their families, pay taxes and buy products and services that stimulate the local economy,” said Congressman Chris Murphy (D-5th District). “A fair contract for Connecticut’s office building cleaners will be a win for all working families and an important step toward ensuring our state’s future prosperity.”

Negotiations for a new contract began this week between 32BJ, the largest union of property service workers in the country, and a group of cleaning companies that includes some of the largest in the state and region. 32BJ members in the Hartford and New Haven areas clean some of Connecticut’s most important landmark buildings and corporate centers including the State Capitol, the Old State House, New Haven City Hall, Travelers’ Tower, and Wesleyan University. Corporate owners of buildings cleaned by the union’s members include some of the nation’s most profitable companies such as Aetna and Traveler’s Insurance.

In addition to Murphy, other elected officials who spoke at the meeting included State Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford); New Britain Mayor Tim O’Brien; Hartford City Council Members Luis Cotto and Larry Deutsch; and Council Member-elect Cynthia Jennings

The contract talks come at a time when growth in insurance and financial services has given the Hartford metropolitan area the fastest-growing economy in the state. The total value of goods and services in the region was 50 percent higher than the average for metro areas in the country in 2009 to 2010. Commercial real estate in Hartford and New Haven is a more than $700 million industry.

‪But office building cleaners represented by 32BJ in the city of Hartford are paid $13.50 an hour under the current contract which expires at midnight on December 31. Those in New Haven earn $11 an hour. Most in New Haven and a significant number in Hartford are given only part-time cleaning jobs, seriously undermining their ability to earn enough to cover their family’s essential needs.

“We are fighting for better wages and benefits,” said Felipe Trevitazo, a cleaner at Bradley International Airport. “We pay taxes. We work hard. We should be able to have a decent life.”

With more than 120,000 members, including more than 4,000 in Connecticut, 32BJ is the largest union of property service workers in the nation.  
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Congressman Murphy, Sen. Fonfara and Other Elected Leaders to Meet With Hundreds of Building Workers

32BJ of SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION 

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR:

11:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 19, 2011

CONGRESSMAN MURPHY, SEN. FONFARA AND OTHER ELECTED LEADERS TO MEET WITH
HUNDREDS OF BUILDING WORKERS

– Federal, State and City Elected Officials to Take Public Stand in Support of 2,000 Office Cleaners’ Campaign for Good Jobs–

 

WHAT: Two days after contract talks opened for a new contract for 2,000 office building cleaners in the Hartford and New Haven areas, elected officials from around the state join workers to learn more about the campaign and show their support. Meeting followed by march through downtown.

 

WHO: More Than Three Hundred Office Building Cleaners from Hartford and New Haven areas

U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy (D-5th District)

State Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford)

State Representative Sean Williams (R-Watertown)

Hartford City Council Members: Luis Cotto and Larry Deutsch, and Council Member-elect Cynthia Jennings

 

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 19, 2011

 

WHERE: Central Baptist Church, 457 Main Street, Hartford – followed by march beginning at 12:30 p.m. through downtown.

With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 4,500 in Connecticut, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country.  

 

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Dec 1st: NYC Strike Vote and March for Good Jobs

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1

SEND A MESSAGE TO EMPLOYERS: We cannot – we will not – let you push back our pay, benefits and rights on the job. Take a stand with New York’s working families, unions, community groups and others for an economy that works for everyone!
32BJ NYC Commercial Cleaners

Sheraton Hotel (53rd St. & 7th Ave.)
Take the B, D, or E train to the 7th Ave. stop
If you have Facebook, you can RSVP here

Download a postcard reminder to share with your coworkers


All 32BJ Members

5th Avenue and 33rd Street
Take the B, D, F or M train to the 34th St. stop, or the 6 train to the 33rd St. stop
If you have Facebook, you can RSVP here

Download a postcard reminder to share with your coworkers

Contract Talks Open for Two Thousand Connecticut Office Cleaners

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Maia Davis: 212-388-3696
201-396-4444
Eugenio Villasante: 212-539-2940


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

‪Thursday, November 17, 2011

 

Contract Talks Open for Two Thousand Connecticut Office Cleaners

- Union Proposals Focus on Fair Wages and Benefits to Keep Families Out of Poverty -

 

Hartford, CT –Negotiations began today for a new contract covering 2,000 office building cleaners in the Hartford and New Haven areas as 32BJ SEIU, the largest property services union in the country, presented its proposals to the major cleaning companies in the state. The union is seeking to protect benefits and win a fair wage increase that will allow cleaning workers to make ends meet.

“These men and women work hard every day to keep office buildings in our state well-maintained, sanitary and safe, but they earn barely enough to stay out of poverty,” said Kurt Westby, Connecticut State Director for 32BJ SEIU. “Ensuring that they get the wages and benefits they need to support their families will be a win for Connecticut’s communities, taxpayers and the economy.”

32BJ members clean some of Connecticut’s most important landmark buildings and corporate centers including the State Capitol, the Old State House, New Haven City Hall, Travelers’ Tower, and Wesleyan University. Corporate owners of buildings cleaned by the union’s members include some of the nation’s most profitable companies such as Aetna and Traveler’s Insurance.

The contract talks come at a time when growth in insurance and financial services has given the Hartford metropolitan area the fastest-growing economy in the state. The total value of goods and services in the region was 50 percent higher than the average for metro areas in the country in 2009 to 2010. Commercial real estate in Hartford and New Haven is a more than $700 million industry.

But office building cleaners represented by 32BJ in the city of Hartford are paid $13.50 an hour under the current contract which expires at midnight on December 31. Those in New Haven earn $11 an hour. Most in New Haven and a significant number in Hartford are given only part-time cleaning jobs, seriously undermining their ability to earn enough to cover their family’s essential needs.

“We are fighting for better wages and benefits,” said Felipe Trevitazo, a cleaner at Bradley International Airport. “We pay taxes. We work hard. We should be able to have a decent life.”

With more than 120,000 members, including more than 4,000 in Connecticut, 32BJ is the largest union of property service workers in the nation.

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Contract Talks Open For Over 22,000 NYC Office Cleaners

32BJ of the SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Matt Nerzig: 212-539-2882; 917-584-0787
Kwame Patterson: 312-371-2485

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 15, 2011

CONTRACT TALKS OPEN FOR MORE THAN 22,000 NEW YORK CITY OFFICE CLEANERS

– Union Proposals Focus on Protecting Good Jobs to Strengthen the Economy –

Start of bargaining in New York City

We’re not asking to get rich, we just need fair wages and benefits to be able to survive in this city.
Emma Mehmedovic, midtown office cleaner

New York, NY— Negotiations for a new contract covering more than 22,000 commercial office building cleaners began today when 32BJ, the city’s largest private-sector union, presented its proposals to the Realty Advisory Board (RAB) — an association representing most of the city’s commercial building owners, managers, and cleaning contractors.

“Our proposals are aimed at preserving good jobs and maintaining the middle class that our city’s economy needs to grow,” said Mike Fishman, President of 32BJ. “When thousands of hardworking men and women win good jobs with decent wages and benefits, it’s a win for working families, our communities and the economy.”

Real Estate Industry on the Upswing

Contract talks open as the $22 billion Manhattan commercial real estate industry experiences its busiest third quarter in three years — with sales activity reaching $6.3 billion, according to Crain’s. That puts 2011 on track to be the third highest total-sales year on record, surpassed only by the boom years of 2006 and 2007. In addition, there have been six straight quarters of rental gains with top quality buildings up 10.7 percent in the past 12 months, according to CoStar.

Working Families Struggling to Make Ends Meet

The top rate for commercial office cleaners represented by 32BJ is $22.65 an hour or $47,000 annually, significantly less than the household income that independent researchers have shown is necessary to support a family of four.

“With the real estate industry back on track, there is no excuse to keep office cleaners from getting the wages they need to continue to make ends meet.” Fishman said.

Building Worker Strike Could Affect More than 1,500 Office Buildings

Failure to reach a new contract by December 31, 2011, could lead to a strike of more than 22,000 commercial property service workers at more than 1,500 buildings, including landmarks such as Rockefeller Center, the Met Life building and the Empire State Building.

“I have to support my wife and kids,” said Ivan Almendarez, a commercial office cleaner in downtown Manhattan. “I can’t afford to go backwards.”

With more than 120,000 members, including 70,000 in New York, 32BJ is the largest private-sector union in the state.

For more information, visit www.StandWithBuildingWorkers.org.

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