Unico Faces Call to Create Good Jobs at Newly-purchased Montgomery Park
Unico Properties grabbed headlines in April after purchasing the iconic Montgomery Park, Portland’s second largest office building. The property manager and owner drew attention last year after choosing a non-union contractor, Millennium Building Services, to clean their buildings The Lovejoy and Machineworks. Now janitors are speaking out again to make sure tenants and visitors to Montgomery Park know about the irresponsible practices Millennium, the janitorial contractor at Montgomery Park, has engaged in.
On Wednesday, 4/24, janitors visited Montgomery Park to update tenants and visitors, and they were surprised to hear about the record of Millennium. For over a year, janitors who work for Millennium Building Services have been speaking out about their working conditions. Janitors have raised concerns about poverty wages, lack of access to protected sick time, retaliatory and coercive behavior toward workers who are speaking up, and unsafe working conditions. Research into Millennium revealed that the company faced an injury and illness rate of 2-3 times the industry average.
Building owners are taking concerns raised by janitors more seriously after new legislation which came into effect in 2018, the Property Service Workers Protection Act. Clients of janitorial services can face lawsuits, as well as liability for unpaid wages, if they use unlicensed contractors in their buildings. Although Millennium Building Services is itself licensed, a mounting movement of janitors demands the building owners and managers make responsible choices for janitorial services. An effective way of choosing a responsible contractor is from the list of verified Responsible Contractors, maintained by SEIU. Responsible Contractors respect area standards for wages, benefits and working conditions and have a tried and true dispute resolution system that keeps clients, employers, and workers out of the headlines and courtrooms.
Workers and community supporters are calling on Unico – the new owner and manager at Montgomery Park – to practice responsible contracting at Montgomery Park, Machineworks and the Lovejoy.