Twin Cities Janitorial Contract Update
February 12, 2010
Twin Cities Janitors Disappointed by BOMA Opposition to Good Faith Bargaining
MINNEAPOLIS – Twin Cities janitors reacted with disappointment to press reports that the Building Owners and Managers Association of Saint Paul took the unprecedented step of attempting to block a non-binding resolution of the Saint Paul City Council in support of their campaign for Good Jobs and a Green Future, which simply calls on all parties to negotiate in good faith and avoid a strike.
“We already knew that the companies didn’t want to bargain in good faith, and that’s why we authorized a strike over unfair labor practices,” said Ron Johnson, a janitor in Minneapolis. “But it’s unfortunate that the Building Owners and Managers would oppose something that aims to avoid a strike. They’re the ones that pay the bills and need their buildings cleaned, so it’s odd that they would add to the dispute.”
The Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that the President of the Greater Saint Paul Building Owners and Managers Association circulated a letter to the City Council criticizing the resolution and urging that it not be passed. BOMA members also emailed and called council members asking that they not vote for it. Despite their efforts, the resolution was adopted unanimously and signed by all seven council members. There was a similar story in the Star Tribune.
“I was a janitor at Securian in Saint Paul for 19 years before they decided to change cleaning companies in order to cut costs by getting rid of longtime employees like me, so I know the building owners hold the real power over our lives,” said Zaida Torres, who now works for ABM in Minneapolis. “But considering ABM has told us they are only available to bargain for half a day next week, building owners could at least make sure ABM, Harvard, Marsden, and the other cleaning contractors bargain in good faith.”
“After years of assertions by building owners and property managers that they are innocent bystanders in our negotiations with the cleaning contractors they hire to clean their buildings, we are at least encouraged to see them admit through their actions that they are, in fact, an interested party,” said Javier Morillo-Alicea, President of SEIU Local 26. “But now we need them to step up and do their part to avoid a strike.”