The following statement can be attributed to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Passaic Mayor Héctor Lora, Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano, and Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty:
“Office cleaners, security officers, porters and other building service workers who are 32BJ members are among ‘essential workers’ on the front lines of the Coronavirus crisis, keeping buildings clean and safe for everyone. The work they do every day is invaluable. Now more than ever, their hard work can literally save lives. These men and women are the unsung heroes of the Coronavirus pandemic, and they can least afford to lose wages and benefits during this crisis.
“At the same time that cleaners, security officers and residential building service workers have stepped forward to do their jobs during this outbreak, many are already suffering from layoffs and reductions, with more expected as the crisis extends. Commercial properties in the state are seeing an all-time high per square foot asking rates and the lowest vacancy rates in a decade. During this period of crisis, while tenants continue to pay rent, the owners and their contractors have a responsibility to their cleaners, porters and officers. These men and women have performed their jobs admirably under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
“The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency for these workers to maintain health care that enables them to see a doctor, a crucial public health necessity that prevents the spread of any illness. Building owners can and must ensure the well-being and health of workers and their families.”
32BJ SEIU Vice President Kevin Brown added: “It would be shameful and immoral for building owners to try to profit on the backs of workers already living paycheck to paycheck during this time of crisis. We urge owners to do the right thing by those who have been keeping their properties clean, running and safe.”
With more than 175,000 members in 11 states, including over 9,000 in New Jersey, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.