WPCNR MAIN STREET White Plains NY USA: From the Service Employees International Union 32BJ. (Edited) May 2, 2018:
After the SEIU 32BJ rally outside the Caspi building at 120 Bloomingdale Road, a group of Westchester County legislators and workers attempted to deliver a letter requesting 7 union members be rehired and a workers’ petition to Caspi representatives in the building.
At the request of Caspi, White Plains police denied the entourage of delegation entry to the property. Even after the delegation was reduced to one legislator and one union rep and was allowed entry by police, Caspi’s representatives refused to accept the letter.
Four members of the County Board of Legislators were joined by representatives of the Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body and members of 32BJ SEIU in a White Plains delegation Tuesday that sought to help a group of local building cleaners.
“Because I lost my job, my family is suffering,” said Amando Martinez, one of the seven workers who formerly worked at 235-245 Main Street. “I want to ask the employer to put their hands on their heart and think of the working people. All we want is to work.”
“The County Board of Legislators stands with the workers of Main Street,” Board of Legislators Chairman Ben Boykin told a gathering of about two dozen workers and legislators before joining the delegation that attempted to enter 120 Bloomingdale. “I called Caspi Development several times to discuss the matter and received no answer. Violating the Westchester County Displaced Worker Act is totally unacceptable. We will stand with you until you get your jobs back.”
Community members were met with what the union representatives describe as “indifference” by building owners who have been accused by the Service Employees International Union 32BJ of breaking a Westchester County labor standards law.
The county legislators were among a dozen who signed a letter calling on Capsi Development to see that the seven cleaners who were let go from their jobs at the Caspi building at 235-245 Main Street are brought back with full back pay.
The cleaners have filed a lawsuit in NY State Supreme Court and unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, and they are seeking a federal court injunction against the new cleaning contractor, Integrated Building Management.
“I’m disappointed that the representatives of Caspi Development on site refused to allow a delegation to deliver our letter and a workers’ petition,” said a member of the delegation, County Board of Legislators Majority leader Catherine Parker. “What we at the Board of Legislators are looking for is that laws of Westchester County are followed, and that Caspi Development understands that they can be a friendly intermediary in that process.”
“It seems like a pretty bad sign that the building owner is not willing to accept our request to do the right thing,” Ms. Parker concluded.
“By refusing to allow the delegation entry, refusing to take calls, refusing to accept a letter signed by over a dozen legislators, Caspi Development is refusing to hear the community they serve,” said Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ SEIU. “Caspi Development and Integrated Building Management should put their energy into resolving this issue in the best interest of local workers, building tenants, and the local economy.”
“It’s ridiculous that the building owner and their contractor are treating these seven workers this way,” said Tom Carey, President of the Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body. “We stand in solidarity with you totally.”
“On May Day, we’re committed to fight for these seven cleaners in the spirit of all the workers’ who’ve had to fight for their rights,” said Anthony Castiglione, a member of 32BJ SEIU and Vice President of the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body. “We ask Caspi to do the right thing and ask their contractor to hire these workers, or to find a law-abiding contractor that will act responsibly.”