Washington, DC –Nearly 70 janitors at Fort Belvoir have authorized their union’s bargaining committee to call a strike, if necessary early next week, against federal contractor Brown & Pipkins d/b/a Ascential in response to charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board. The men and women who keep the base safe and clean are alleging that Brown & Pipkins refuses to bargain a contract in good faith with their union, 32BJ SEIU.
Last year, Brown & Pipkins settled claims that it owed nearly $300,000 in wages and benefits, and disciplined two workers and terminated one for protected union activity.
For over nine months after Brown & Pipkins took over the janitorial contract at Fort Belvoir in September of 2012, the 70 janitors at Fort Belvoir worked without a contract while the company refused to bargain in good faith. As a consequence, workers who relied on their jobs at Fort Belvoir for health insurance lost health coverage.
After filing Wage and Hour complaints with the Department of Labor and unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, the janitors at Fort Belvoir went on strike in February, 2013. While Brown & Pipkins eventually settled a first contract, the company is again refusing to bargain fairly on a successor.
“Nobody wants to strike, but these men and women are willing to do what’s necessary to support their families,” said 32BJ SEIU Vice President and Capital Area Director, Jaime Contreras.
With more than 125,000 members in nine states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.