The union is only as strong as we are. If we don’t get up and fight things stay the same with the 99% and the 1%.

~ Kim Squirrel, 32BJ Member, Western Pennsylvania

Fred Roldan

District: Division: ,
http://www.seiu32bj.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/fred1a-wpcf_540x360.jpg

Fred Roldan sensed something was wrong when a young man came into his Brooklyn school one day in January asking the school security officer to phone him a cab.

“He looked a little weird to me,” said Roldan, a longtime cleaner and fireman at the school, P.S. 45 in Bushwick. “So I stood around to see what was going on.”

Just then the sound of police sirens came from the streets. As the security officer stepped to the front door to see what was going on, the young man started to head upstairs toward the school office.

Roldan blocked him, telling him that he couldn’t enter the building and had to wait for the security officer.

Then they heard a voice outside yell, “He’s in the building. The guy’s in the building.”

Within moments, Roldan saw the young man grab a gun from inside his pants. “I grabbed his arm that he held it with and said, ‘Drop it. Drop it.’ He dropped it on the ground. I grabbed him and put him up against the wall, and then the cops were coming up the stairs.”

Roldan said he believes the young man was intending to try to hide the gun before the police came in, but, “I wasn’t waiting to find out.”

Several days later a police lieutenant and captain came to personally thank Roldan for his bravery and quick thinking. The principal has also thanked him. He said kids at the elementary school who heard about the incident on the news have called him a hero, and Roldan’s son, Noah, a sixth-grader at the school “is holding his head up high.”

Roldan said any of the other maintenance staff would have done the same thing. Although this incident was highly unusual, he said he and the other school cleaners routinely go above and beyond to guard the safety of children and staff at their school.

When teachers have car trouble outside the school, some of the cleaners have gone out to help them get their cars started. When students at the school are playing outside on the school yard in the evenings, Roldan and his coworkers check in case older children come to bother them.

“We keep an eye out to make sure nothing happens,” Roldan said.

Gene Szymanski, Schools Division Director at 32BJ, said he was proud to hear of Roldan’s bravery, but not surprised.

“Our 5,000 cleaners in New York schools are the unsung heroes of our school system,” Szymanski said. “We have a member who not long ago protected a child from a suspicious-looking person lurking outside the building before school opened in the morning. We have many, many members who during and after Superstorm Sandy worked round the clock and on weekends to run emergency shelters and repair damaged schools quickly. Every day, school cleaners do whatever it takes to keep our schools running and our kids safe.”

 

More
MEMBERS

Jonathan Mancia: “My daughter’s future is what keeps me focused.”
Marla Blunt: A Pittsburgh That Works for Working People
Muniru Owe: A Call to Action
Maria Trejo: Optimism Is a Necessity of Life
Veteran and Security Officer Jeremy Birchwood: ‘Every person deserves a living wage’
Dominise Wright: A Leader for Airport Workers
Teresa Mancheno: Justice for Janitors
Sarina Santos: Better Conditions for Philly Airport Workers!
Baltimore Members on Poverty, Police and Community
Aliyya Lee: Why I Fight!
Christopher Savoy: Fed Up But Not Giving Up
Richard Adams: I Refuse to Be the Norm
New Brigade Hits the Ground Running
Antonio Barnes: Restoring Faith in the Political Process
Marcus Garland: High Stakes in PA
Beatriz Hernandez: Politics Matter
Jose Luz Sanchez: Worker Justice and Immigrant Justice
Assade Vedrine: Fighting to Keep His Family Together
Emmanuel Sebit: A Hell of a Job
Michael Greene: Now We Have A Voice
Shirley Newell: Fighting for What We Deserve
Robb Archigian: A Fair Contract For All Of Us
Cesar Coronel: Your Fight Is My Fight
Scott Cohen: I’ll Be There on April 2nd!
Antonio Toro: It’s All the Same City
Raymond Vazquez: Making Ends Meet
Derbert King: Keep the Focus on What’s Important
Eugene Amankwah: Making New York Home
Larry Teachey
Leroy Abramson
John Kenney
Gregg Bandy
Kelly Mahaffey
Heleodora Caraballo
Alejandro Rojas
Brenda Mitchell-Dolor: Finding Power You Didn’t Realize You Have
Simon Torres: A Great Guide in a City of Immigrants
Lance Mann: Research Brigader
Ciro Gutierrez
Maria Ramirez
Leslie Williams
Fred Roldan
Anthony Faulk
Jay Etheridge
Anna Dziubek
Maurice Thomas
Delores Perry
Victoria Carbajal
Willie Lucas
Yohanny Peguero
Yeny Nuñez
Kim Squirrel
Justin Foglia