Shorenstein Realty Services, Unico Properties, Nike, and Intel are stepping up to ensure that the essential workers who clean their properties—janitors—are able to support their families during this crisis and are helping to mitigate the health risks and financial impacts of COVID-19 by investing in responsible union janitorial contractors.
Several months after switching to Millennium Building Services for its night shift janitorial services, a recent tenant survey at Standard Insurance Tower and Plaza found that 60% of respondents feel that the night janitorial quality had gone down under the new contractor.
Standard Insurance came under nationwide scrutiny as low wage workers and their allies raised concerns about Standard’s contracting practices. In Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver and Seattle, janitors delivered letters to Standard insurance offices, calling on the company to do right by the people who clean their buildings. As one more example of the powerful #JusticeForJanitors campaign, the delegations all requested that The Standard reverse course and choose from one of the many Responsible Contractors that operate in the Portland market.
Standard Insurance talks about how they “act with compassion,” and have a “culture of caring.” They host events, such as their Volunteer Expo in downtown Portland, to attempt to demonstrate their commitment. Janitors and their supporters questioned Standards’ commitment to Portland after they chose to eliminate 15 good union jobs for janitors in their two downtown buildings. Handing out leaflets at the event, janitors and their supporters highlighted that Standard is failing Portland workers by eliminating good jobs.
For over 20 years, Standard Insurance Center and Standard Plaza have invested in a responsible union janitorial company to keeps their offices clean. Janitors in the buildings had good jobs, earned fair wages and had access to affordable healthcare. In July, Standard made the decision to switch to Millennium Building Services, a non-union contractor marked “Red,” the lowest possible rating, on ResponsibleContractorGuide.net. Millennium workers have been speaking out about working conditions since 2017. Workers report extreme exploitation, unfair wages and unaffordable health insurance. Millennium is known for using a subcontractor model, where they may further subcontract janitorial services to dubious “independent contractors” — sometimes without the knowledge of the building managers.