Union Cleaners Lose Jobs in Favor of Non-Union Workers in WP Downtown. Union Says Action Violates County Law

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Members and supporters of 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union protesting the firing of 7 of their union members by Caspi Development, owners of the building in the background, adjacent City Hall today in White Plains.

WPCNR MAIN STREET JOURNAL. From the Service Employees International Union with WPCNR Interview. April 12, 2018.Updated 9:45 A.M.

Seven union office cleaners were given notice within  the last two weeks, when Caspi Development, owners of 235-234 Main Street, the building adjacent White Plains City Hall,  changed cleaning contractors without notice.

Today the union held a protest on Main Street in front of City Hall. Tim McGrath, Field Supervisor for the Hudson Valley Region for 32BJ SEIU told WPCNR what Caspi did and what SEIU is going to do next in this WPCNR video at this link

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The union workers dismissed were making $15 an hour, plus health and vacation benets,  and were dismissed in favor of Integrated Building Management workers whom Caspi would be paying less and were non-union, according to Frank Soults, a spokesperson for the SEIU 32BJ union.

Soults told WPCNR this morning the 32BJ SEIU had filed two complaints with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday of this week.

When the cleaners reported to work on Monday, April 2, the union says a new company was operating at their building site, and they were told they could not apply for their old jobs because they belonged to a union. The 32BJ SEIU states the action by the new company violates Westchester County’s Displaced Service Employee Protection Law.

The union held a protest today at 12:15 P.M. in front of 234-235 Main Street to demand the workers be reinstated and rehired by the new company, International Building Management, not necessarily at the same wage. “We want to negotiate with them,” Soults said.

Members of the Communication Workers of America joined the protest, as well as Assemblyman David Buchwald.

Soults said Caspi Development by law should have given the dismissed employees 60 says notice according to the Westchester County Displaced Service employee Protection Law, signed by former County Executive Robert Astorino after it had passed the County Board of Legislators, 16-0.

Soults said Westchester County could choose to take some kind of legal action under their (the county’s)own law.

“This is not the way to treat the people who have been cleaning this building for years,” Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ SEIU, the workers’ union. “The owner not only violated county law, he has displaced longstanding and productive members of the local workforce and upset good relations with building tenants. Caspi Development can surely afford to behave decently. We are very grateful to elected officials and community members who are joining us to ask Caspi to do the right thing and bring these committed workers back on the job by requiring its contractor to comply with the law and hire these workers back.”

According to the Westchester County Displaced Service Employee Protection Law:

Under the DSEPL, a successor employer of building service employees is required to extend a written offer of employment to the predecessor employer’s incumbent employees and retain such employees for a period of 60 days, subject to the existence of just cause or a change in the number of employees needed to perform the applicable work.

At the conclusion of the 60-day period, the just cause protection no longer applies, and any continued employment shall be under the successor employer’s policies and applicable law.

In order to facilitate the successor employer’s retention obligations, the DSEPL requires that the awarding authority to provide certain notifications to the successor employer, affected employees and any collective bargaining representative at least 15 days before terminating any service contract.

The DSEPL is enforced through a private right of action in New York Supreme Court for employees who have been discharged or not retained in violation of the law.

The court may order injunctive relief, as well as a damage award that includes back pay, cost of benefits the successor employer would have incurred if it had complied with the law, attorneys’ fees and costs, and any damages caused by the awarding authority’s failure to comply with its obligations.

 

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