Shorenstein Realty Services (SRS) recently chose a verified Responsible Contractor, Able Services, to clean the company’s three office parks in the Portland suburban market: Kruse Woods Corporate Park (in Lake Oswego), Lincoln Center (Beaverton), and Nimbus Corporate Center (Tigard).
Shorenstein, a building owner and property manager based on San Francisco with $9 billion in assets and 23 million square feet under its management has a record of respecting the rights of janitors and using contractors that do the same throughout their portfolio in California and in downtown Portland.
Now the janitors who clean these suburban properties have a union, like at the rest of Shorenstein’s Portland metropolitan portfolio, providing meaningful and enforceable rights on the job, and wages and benefits that meet area standards.
The janitors at these properties previously worked for Expresso Building Services. Workers there raised serious concerns on the job and began to form a union with SEIU Local 49.
Expresso janitors have raised concerns about poverty wages, lack of access to affordable medical insurance, sexual harassment, misclassification of employees as independent contractors, and unclear or unfair access to other benefits.
Expresso is alleged to be in violation of state law because they operated for nearly 18 months without a required Property Service Contractor license. (Click here for lawsuit details.)
Any person who knowingly uses the services of an unlicensed property services contractor is personally, jointly and severally liable with the person acting as an unlicensed contractor for any unpaid wages and other damages as provided by law, including costs and reasonable attorney fees in connection with any actions initiated to recover such amounts. ORS 658.465; OAR 839-015-0605. https://www.oregon.gov/boli/WHD/PSC/Documents/2019%20PSC%20Handbook%20English.pdf
Janitors in the Portland area call on building owners and managers to choose responsible contractors. They can do this either by choosing an already-verified responsible contractor, or by encouraging their existing contractors to act in a responsible way. Verified responsible contractors make a binding commitment to meet area standards for wages, benefits and working conditions, have an effective system for dispute resolution with workers, and meaningful and binding commitments to workers rights. For more on Portland-area responsible contracting, visit www.RaiseAmericaPDX.org/Responsible