Let’s Talk about Good Jobs at Umpqua Bank Plaza

Umpqua Bank prides itself on being a community bank, responsive to the needs of the people it serves and open to hearing comments from customers and the public. But when their janitorial contractor at their headquarters, Umpqua Bank Plaza, decided to eliminate 7 good union jobs for janitors in their building, community members were shocked that Umpqua Bank failed to intervene to protect good jobs for the Portland community.

Now, members of the Portland community are asking Umpqua Bank to be true to its values. Umpqua has program to allow customers to call their CEO from every bank “store” using a special phone. Janitors and supporters in Portland are calling Umpqua’s CEO, Cort O’Haver, and saying “Let’s talk about good jobs.” Will Umpqua Bank and Mr. O’Haver listen to the community and commit to good jobs at Umpqua Bank Plaza? See more at facebook.com/RaiseAmericaPDX.

The company that now cleans Umpqua Bank Plaza is National Maintenance Contractors (NMC). NMC sells dubious franchises to janitors—reportedly often to immigrant workers with limited English proficiency—through contracts that charge thousands of dollars in fees for the right to service Zeller’s customer accounts. In October 2017, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled NMC had to backpay the state approximately $138,000 in unemployment insurance taxes because these “franchisees” are legally employees. Findings in the case include:

  • Janitors had to pay thousands of dollars just to work for NMC.
  • Even after paying large fees up front, some janitors waited months for NMC to assign them work.
  • NMC deducted from franchisees’ income up to 51% of what building owners and property managers paid for cleaning services, including a 25% service fee if franchisees wanted assurance they could keep working after their first year.
  • Janitors were not paid for extra hours worked, such as when cleaning extra messes after an office party.