The following statement is attributable to NY State Senator Shelley B. Mayer, NYS Assemblyman David Buchwald, Westchester Legislators Catherine Borgia, Catherine F. Parker, MaryJane Shimsky, Colin D. Smith, and Christopher A. Johnson, and Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Corazon Pineda-Isaac:
“As we all know, the nation is focusing on the Hudson Valley as a hotspot in the Coronavirus pandemic. In the midst of this crisis, the residential building workers, office cleaners and security officers who belong to 32BJ SEIU are standing on the frontlines, keeping buildings clean and safe for everyone. Their invaluable work is more important now than ever. The jobs they do have the power to save lives. Neither they nor we can afford to see them laid off from these important jobs.
These crucial yet often-invisible workers are now caught in a double bind. Governor Cuomo has included cleaners and security officers in the list of essential workers, yet at the same time that they are showing up at work every day, putting themselves at risk to protect us all, they are also being threatened with layoffs and reductions.
This cannot be a time that the building owners step away from their responsibility to all the workers who make their properties good places to live and work. When workers are laid off, they not only stand to lose income but eventually their health insurance, just at the time they need it most.
The same is true whether the cleaning, disinfecting and maintenance is being done at commercial sites or in residential buildings. With schools closed and non-essential employees working from home, our area’s residential workers are more important than ever to keep these buildings–which are full of children, families and seniors– clean and safe for all.”
“We are proud that the governor has recognized the essential nature of our members’ work, and happy to have the support of so many elected officials as we seek to ensure that residential building workers, cleaners and security officers continue to receive the full support of their employers,” said Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ SEIU and head of the union in the Hudson Valley. “Building owners should understand that it is not a time for them to reap extra profit by cutting the services of the workers who put themselves on the front line keeping the properties clean and safe. It would be unjust and immoral for building owners to continue to receive full rent from their tenants, yet cut the services of the hardworking and loyal building service workers causing them to lose income and health care benefits. Building service workers are vital to everyone’s health and well-being and should be fairly compensated for putting themselves at risk by continuing to work to keep others safe during the pandemic.”
With more than 175,000 members in 11 states, including over 4,500 in the Hudson Valley, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.