NEW YORK – Building service workers union 32BJ SEIU said today that 24 contracted cleaners at WeWork who fought to improve their jobs last year returned to the co-working start-up’s offices in New York this week for their first days of work with a new contractor.
“This is a great time for me and my coworkers and we’re ready to get back to work,” said Lourdes Santos. “The higher pay and benefits are going to make a huge difference for me and my family. I’m looking forward to being back at WeWork and being part of their community.”
In October, WeWork and 32BJ reached a shared understanding to create good jobs for cleaning staff. To help cover expenses for cleaners as they waited to start their new jobs, WeWork also arranged to have CBM make severance payments to cover the interruption in their work time and earnings.
WeWork now has contracts with new cleaning contractors to employ cleaning staff in its New York and Boston locations. WeWork Boston transitioned to a different cleaning contractor UG2 a few months ago. The first group of cleaners employed by top-tier contractor ABM start work in New York today.
In New York, ABM will give first option to other former CBM contracted cleaners — who lost their jobs cleaning at WeWork when CBM cancelled its contract — to fill open cleaning positions going forward whenever possible as the company expands. More of the cleaners are expected to return to work in the coming months.
“We are proud to welcome these new members to our union and we know that they are very proud to be going back to work at WeWork with good jobs,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa. “We look forward to continuing our constructive relationship with WeWork to ensure good cleaning jobs for these hard-working men and women.”
“Our commitment to community is what makes WeWork unique. We are excited to partner with 32BJ to welcome more of our former cleaners back to the WeWork community,” said WeWork President and COO, Artie Minson. “This agreement allows us to continue providing the best possible experience for our members, while simultaneously providing excellent jobs to our full-time employees.”
The new cleaning jobs will be covered by the 32BJ contract, with starting pay of $18.46 an hour, which will go up over time, health care and other benefits, including access to the 32BJ Training Fund, which offers free classes to union members on everything from heating and air conditioning repair to business writing, and to the 32BJ Legal Fund, which provides free legal services to union members. They will have also have paid vacation—3 days after 6 months and 2 weeks after a year.
With more than 145,000 members, including 23,000 commercial members in New York City, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.