Midtown building workers strike over contract bargaining rights

The workers claim they are being denied a chance to negotiate their contracts, which they believe is a violation of federal labor laws.

Edric Robinson

Jul 10, 2024, 10:21 PM

Updated 9 days ago

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Workers in Midtown Manhattan have gone on strike, claiming they are being denied a chance to negotiate their contracts, which they believe is a violation of federal labor laws.
Carlos Tejeda, the fire safety director, along with fellow workers at 529 Fifth Ave., began a two-day strike starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, hoping to send a strong message.
"We’re united, we will never be defeated," chanted Tejeda as he rallied outside the building's entrance.
The group includes five cleaners and a fire safety director, all members of the 32BJ SEIU union. They’re protesting to negotiate contract details regarding wages and benefits.
"I worked emergency situations through COVID and I still showed up to work. I’ve been here for 26 years. I just want to be treated fairly," said Tejeda.
Workers say that in June, their wages were slashed to $16 an hour after a new landlord took over last year. Additionally, four union security officers lost their jobs.
"I got kids in college, and the way the economy is going, I’m just here trying to do my job," added Tejeda.
Manny Pastreich, president of 32BJ SEIU, joined protesters,
"A new cleaning contractor came in and they reduced people's wages by almost $20,000 a year, and they won’t even sit down and bargain with them in good faith," he says.
The union has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge, saying L&J Janitorial refuses to negotiate.
News 12 reached out to L&J Janitorial but did not hear back at the time of this report.
"This is out of step with the standards of this city, this is out of step with basic humanity and decency," said Pastreich.
The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, and with this strike, they’re hoping L&J Janitorial will start negotiations.


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