September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Title:Workers fired over union contract
Publication:El Diario / La Prensa
Blurb:Five janitors say they were fired for pressuring their employers to conclude contract negotiations that are almost a year overdue with labor union SEIU 32BJ.
Body:Five janitors say they were fired for pressuring their employers to conclude contract negotiations that are almost a year overdue with labor union SEIU 32BJ.
The contracting company Mayco Building Services, Inc. fired workers Salvador Flores, Rosa Figueroa, José Valentine, Ramón Portillo, and Esperanza Velásquez on Oct. 9, after they were seen leaving pro-union flyers on car windshields in the company parking lot.
The five Central American immigrants, who were employed at EAB Plaza in Hempstead, received their notices of termination from Mayco days after distributing the flyers.
No union representative was present when we were fired, said Salvador Flores, 31, a Salvadoran immigrant.
Ramón Portillo, 57, despite his 12 years of employment with the company, was never eligible to receive health insurance because of a five-hour minimum shift requirement.
The most I worked at a time was four hours and 45 minutes. The company didnt let me work more than that, explained Portillo, who is also Salvadoran. Now, his most pressing concern is how he will pay for medication he must take for diabetes.
Horacio Anchissi, 32BJ shop steward for Mayco workers, says that the contracting company has been violating workers rights for years.
Two years ago we signed a contract which guaranteed salary increases for workers. Mayco violated the contract by providing raises they said were adequate, not those we agreed to in the contract, said Anchissi.
Mayco also has contracts with Newsday and Lake Success.
Georgina Hernández explained how workers were physically and verbally abused, forced to bear the snow in the winter without proper protection against the cold.
They never paid us overtime and they made us work with broken vacuum cleaners that blew dust everywhere and made a lot of noise, Hernández said.
Workers met yesterday at the Long Island Workplace Project to organize a plan of action against the company whom they say unjustly fired them.