City Center Mall Plans Dismissing Union Cleaning Staff January 1

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WPCNR LABOR LAW JOURNAL. From the Service Employees International Union 32BJ. December 21, 2020:

Westchester County Legislators Damon Maher, David Tubiolo, Nancy Barr, Ruth Walter, and MaryJane Shimsky joined with union representatives and City Center Mall cleaners to deliver a petition signed by the mall’s 14 workers, asking mall managers Kite Realty Group to help them retain their jobs.

On Thursday last week, this successful, nationwide realty company posted a notice announcing that, on January 1, 2021, the unionized company that cleans the mall will be replaced with a non-union contractor, Gladiator Building Services.

 Despite the clear language of Westchester County’s Displaced Worker law, Gladiator has yet to provide a written job offer to the cleaners.

David Tubiolo with Laura Maria Miranda Varon, one of the SEIU union workers who may lose their job. “It worries me very much, my husband is an independent electrician but he hasn’t had much work since the pandemic hit. We have a 15-year-old daughter and my mother back in Colombia, both of whom depend on us. My job is our main income. It would devastate of us if I were to lose it.” (Photo, SEIU32BJ)

In an initial conversation with 32BJ SEIU, a Gladiator representative said the new contractor was planning to reduce the staffing from the current 14 cleaners to six cleaners.

The Gladiator representative would not state whether his company would honor the terms of the current union contract in effect at the mall. 

“Just as Christmas approaches, this hardworking, longstanding group of cleaners is suddenly facing the loss of their jobs in the midst of the worst health and economic crisis of our lifetimes,” said Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ and head of the union in the Hudson Valley.

“Kite Realty is a successful company that can well afford to hire a contractor that would retain the current workforce at their modest wages of $14.50 an hour come the New Year. These workers are now petitioning the mall owners to require the new cleaning company to retain the current workforce at industry standards. Anything less would undercut the high level of cleaning and disinfecting that shoppers and mall workers deserve.”

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