WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union who clean offices at the Department of Health and Human Services Nebraska Ave. complex, have filed a lawsuit against Diversified Service Group, charging the contractor with violating the District’s Displaced Worker Protection Act by firing them without notice or just cause. Cleaners, many who had worked at DHS for more than a decade are seeking to get their old jobs back and to recover back wages, benefits and attorneys’ fees.
“The GSA should only do business with responsible contractors that follow the law and treat workers with respect,” said Jaime Contreras, Capital Area Director for 32BJ. “Bad actors like Diversified threaten to undermine business and community standards and should not be tolerated in the District.”
Cleaning workers and other property service workers are subject to a revolving door of employers, who are free to lay them off with no notice, creating instability and hardship for their children and families. As a remedy, DC enacted the District’s Displaced Worker Protection Act to ensure these vulnerable workers have temporary job protections when their employer’s service contract is terminated.
When Diversified replaced the previous cleaning company, East West Inc., Diversified fired 17 of the workers without just cause.
As the largest union of security officers, 32BJ SEIU has raised the industry’s wage, benefit and training standards in New York, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. With more than 120,000 members in nine states, including 16,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.