LAWRENCE, MA— Roberto Lora of Lawrence, MA, is one of 11 janitors at the New Balance offices who may be displaced when the company switches from their current contractor to a new one on January 31. “It’s hard for me to imagine what will happen if I lose my job at New Balance,” said Lora, a full-time contracted janitor at the company for the past eight years. “I’ll lose all my benefits; my family will go hungry; I won’t have enough money to support them – they depend on me.”
Every week, SEIU Local 615 is informed of buildings “flipping” from one contractor to another, and workers are at immediate risk of losing their jobs and/or benefits. Proposed legislation, “An Act Relative to Economic Stability for Displaced Workers” (SD611 and HD2206) sponsored by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) and Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge) could change this scenario.
The “Displaced Workers” bill would protect thousands of contracted property and aviation service workers from being immediately dismissed when building owners (in both private and public buildings) decide to change contractors. If passed, the legislation mandates a 90-day transition period in which janitorial, security, aviation and maintenance workers would be offered their current jobs by the new company. Union contractors already follow this procedure. The Obama Administration has implemented an Executive Order affecting Federal Buildings across the country which also mandates a 90-day transition period for service workers when there is a change in contract.
At 3 p.m. today, SEIU Local 615 will join local workers for a demonstration at New Balance headquarters, 5 South Union Street in Lawrence.