Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union reports in a press release that The National Labor Relations Board has filed an injunction petition against Pressroom Cleaners Inc., a non-union contractor brought by The Hartford Courant last December to clean the newspaper’s offices.
The change in cleaning companies resulted in the job loss of eight long-time union cleaners. The proposed injunction would require Pressroom to reinstate the fired workers, to restore the terms and conditions that existed under the prior unionized contractor, and to recognize and bargain with the union.
“By taking this step, the NLRB is affirming the workers’ rights,” said Kurt Westby, Connecticut State Director of 32BJ. “We hope it will lead the employer into finally complying with the law and do what’s right. These workers and their families have suffered through financial and emotional strain that could have been avoided.”
The labor board’s filing, which now goes before a federal judge, would reinstate the workers at their prior wages and benefits during ongoing court proceedings.
The Board filed a formal complaint last month against Pressroom Cleaners Inc., for failing to hire the eight cleaners at the Hartford Courant offices and for failing to bargain fairly with the workers’ union, 32BJ SEIU, when the company was brought in as the new cleaning contractor in December. The complaint also accuses Pressroom Cleaners of illegally threatening the workers it did hire that they would be fired if they tried to unionize.
In addition to seeking reinstatement and back pay for the former Capitol Cleaning workers, the NLRB is also seeking restoration of wages and benefits to the levels paid by Capitol Cleaning, and an order requiring Pressroom to pay its current workforce the difference between what Capitol Cleaning was paying and what Pressroom has been paying since taking over.
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.# # #