SEIU 49 Union Janitors Win Protections and Benefits, Put Standard Insurance on Notice to Step Up

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Portland, OR – In the midst of a pandemic, Portland-area union janitors and their supporters call on Standard Insurance to invest in frontline workers. While improvements and protections for union janitors and tenants improve, circumstances get worse for non-union janitors.

Union janitors, win a contract extension that addresses concerns during this pandemic that includes a wage increase, expanded paid sick leave and COVID protections. Meaning building owners, and their tenants, who use Union companies can feel proud of the protections for frontline workers cleaning their facilities.

The COVID protections are especially important during this pandemic and include more safety precautions, the right to miss work if there are high risk issues, more protections around layoffs, and immediate notification if tenants or coworkers test positive.

In direct contrast to this, protections for non-union janitors things don’t look nearly as good. The Standard eliminated good jobs for janitors in their building by switching to a non-union janitorial company, Millennium Building Services (MBS), with a history of driving down standards in the janitorial industry. Janitors at Standard Center and Standard Plaza in downtown Portland report that their non-union employer Millennium Building Service’s adaptation to COVID-19 was limited to circulating information in English, which Spanish-speaking janitors could not understand, and switching to a new cleaning chemical, without substantive training on its use.