Hartford, CT – Hartford City Council members and state lawmakers joined dozens of workers and community allies today at a rally outside the Hartford Courant’s offices to protest Pressroom Cleaners Inc, the newspaper’s new Omaha-based cleaning contractor, for its refusal to hire the newspapers’ long-time cleaners due to their union affiliation. It is a violation of federal law to discriminate against workers or job applicants based on their union activities.
“We are here today to state our opposition to irresponsible employers,” said City Council Member David MacDonald (D). “Businesses that refuse to adhere to community standards shouldn’t have a place in Hartford.”
“We cannot remain silent when the good jobs that Hartford desperately needs are disappearing in front of our eyes,” State Representative Kelvin Roldan (D-4th District) said.
Anxious to work, the Courant’s former cleaners have tried repeatedly to get hired by Pressroom Cleaners. But the company has refused. That led 32BJ, SEIU, which represents the former cleaners, to file charges against Pressroom Cleaners with the National Labor Relations Board.
The cleaners, some of whom had worked cleaning The Courant for more than 20 years, were thrown out of work when Pressroom Cleaners replaced a unionized cleaning contractor.
“These cleaners have worked hard for decades to keep the building of this major newspaper well-maintained, sanitary and safe,” said Kurt Westby, Director of 32BJ SEIU in Connecticut, which represents the eight office cleaners. “We will continue to speak out until we obtain justice for them.”
With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 4,500 in Connecticut, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country.