(South Miami, FL) Annette Taddeo, Candidate for the 26th Congressional District, Father Frank Corbishly from St. Bede Chapel at Univ. of Miami, and other faith leaders will join the fired cleaners from the Shops at Sunset Place Mall to demand that the workers be given their jobs back.
Many of the cleaners—all immigrant and mostly women and mothers—worked at the mall for almost 20 years. One of them is Maria Solis, who has thyroid cancer and was relying on her employer paid health care to pay for her cancer treatment. She is an immigrant from Honduras who was helping her family back home. “I loved my job, the customers, and my co-workers. We were a family,” said Maria. “Now I am so worried and depressed because I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills or my medical treatment, and I can’t help my family anymore.”
The workers will announce that they have filed federal charges against the mall’s cleaning company, Coastal Building Maintenance (CBM) for discriminating against them for belonging to a union, a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The federal authorities are investigating CBM, a company with a long record of labor abuses, which include 13 wage and hour claims for failure to pay overtime. CBM also has a history of refusing to hire 20 unionized janitors when in it took over a cleaning contract in Broward County.
The cleaners are union members of SEIU Local 32BJ, who successfully fought for living wages, excellent benefits, and paid sick days. In 2014 the median wage for Miami janitors was only $9.41 per hour, Sunset Place’s cleaners earned on average between $11-13 per hour. The cleaners had 100% employer paid health care, while the majority of custodial workers aren’t even covered. According to one of the cleaners, CBM offers employees $9 an hour for custodial work.
The nine workers, were all let go without notice after the mall’s new owners, Federal Realty, Grass River Property, and the Comras Company, brought in CBM, who refused to keep them on. Now that they have been laid off, nine good union jobs have been eliminated from the City of South Miami. The fired cleaners and advocates will demand that CBM stop breaking the law and hire all the workers back.
WHAT: Press conference to protest the firing of Sunset Place mall cleaners and announce federal labor charges filed against cleaning contractor.
WHO: Annette Taddeo, Candidate for the 26th Congressional District, Father Frank Corbishley, St. Bede Chapel at Univ. of Miami, Jeanette Smith, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, Lorenzo Canizares of Awake Miami, local clergy, and the fired cleaners of Sunset Place.
***Spanish Speakers will be available***
WHERE: Shops at Sunset Place (Main Entrance on Sunset Road & SW 57 Ct.)
WHEN: Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 3:15pm
VISUALS: Picket signs
With more than 145,000 members in 11 states, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.