December 8, 2014
By Stephanie West
In July 2014, 32BJ SEIU members were terminated at One Meadowlands Plaza in East Rutherford, New Jersey. A new building owner, Vision Properties replaced the contractor. Eastern Essential Services refused to retain the workers because they were union.
Eastern refused to hire back the union employees and replaced the long-time workers. Eastern also cut the hourly rate of pay from $12.80 per hour to $8.50 per hour, slightly above the minimum wage.
32BJ filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Eastern Essential Services. In addition, workers and union members staged protests in East Rutherford. Union representatives held meetings with New Jersey legislators and local community activists.
“After months of thorough investigation, the National Labor Relations Board found probable cause that Eastern Essential Services broke the law and violated the rights of workers. These workers have been without a job for over five months struggling to feed their families. They have been out of work as their children returned to school in September, as their families gathered for Thanksgiving, birthdays and soon the winter holidays; each time unsure of how they would make ends meet”, said Kevin Brown, NJ District Director and Vice President of 32BJ, the largest property service workers union in the country.
“The Federal Government’s formal complaint justifies and reinforces these workers’ struggle. It says loud and clear that an employer cannot step into a workplace where there is a workforce in place and refuse to hire them because they are unionized”, Brown added.
***32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country with 145,000 members.