Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nova Place Cleaners Could Lose Jobs Developer Contracts with New Company

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nova Place Cleaners Could Lose Jobs Developer Contracts with New Company

Article excerpt

Cleaning-service workers at Nova Place on the North Side were told Friday that they could be out of their jobs by Monday.

New York City developer Faros Properties, which owns the Allegheny Center site, has signed a contract with a different company to provide cleaning services.

In response, scores of union members protested over the weekend on Children's Way on the North Side in support of the building cleaners.

Charese Carter, a cleaning-service worker at Nova Place employed through Huber Group, said she and her colleagues did not know this was coming.

"They slid this one right under us. The only thing we were told is that we were going under new management," she said. "So we kept coming to work, doing our duties.The next thing we find out is that they've gone with a union that pays way less."

Ben Huber, president of Huber Group, said its employees have been cleaning Nova Place since August 2016 and are paid $15.25 an hour.

Both Mr. Huber and Service Employees International Union 32BJ, which represents the workers, confirmed that Checklist Facility Maintenance won the contract that starts Monday. Faros Properties told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday that the company would issue a statement Monday.

"We work our behinds off. We work hard for the money that we make," Ms. Carter said. "We just want to keep our jobs."

Sam Williamson, Western Pennsylvania-area leader for SEIU 32BJ, said the union learned Friday that "the contractor who is coming in so far has refused to allow the existing workers to apply for their jobs," he said.

He explained that the building owner is switching companies and that workers "want to know how to keep their jobs; so far no one has been willing to tell them anything."

Mr. Williamson learned that the contract went out to bid months ago but no decision was announced until Friday.

"Normally with these kinds of transitions, it's very seamless: Usually one company comes in and they hire the workers and they honor their wage rights. The people who have been working hard, some of them for several years now to clean these buildings, just stay in their jobs even if they're working for a new company. …

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