South Plainfield, NJ – Early this morning, more than 40 custodial, maintenance and grounds employees who keep schools clean and sanitary in South Plainfield walked out of their jobs for a one-day strike, after their employer, Pritchard Industries unilaterally decided to impose a substandard health insurance program and announced reductions in wages. The workers will rally today at 1:00 pm outside South Plainfield’s High School at 200 Lake St.
“We’ll do what we need to do to take care of our families,” said John Rutigliano, who has been working at South Plainfield’s school district for more than 5 years. “With three school age children, I cannot afford to pay the outrageous premiums that Pritchard is demanding. Paying for the Pritchard healthcare plan for my family would be like taking a $650 per month pay cut.”
Local 32BJ has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Pritchard Industries of committing serious unfair labor practices at its South Plainfield school district account including unlawful unilateral changes, in particular altering the health insurance program and announcing reductions in wages and threatening a worker that Pritchard would more closely scrutinize employees in retaliation for their union activity.
With more than 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., including 10,000 in New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU is the largest union of property service workers in the country.