Improved law would further prevent the unfair displacement of longtime workers by low-road contractors
WHITE PLAINS, NY— September 14, 2019 — On Monday afternoon at 12:30pm, members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators and union leaders will join workers to support passage of a bill that would close loopholes in a law intended to prevent faithful workers from suddenly losing their jobs. As former White Plains building cleaners Gabriela Silva and Araceli Hernandez will explain, they and three coworkers lost jobs they had performed for years when their building’s new owner hired a contractor who avoided the county’s Displaced Service Employees Protection Law.
Commercial building owners regularly replace one service contractor with another, which is why legislators in 2013 first passed the Displaced Service Employees Protection Law. The law is intended to provide a temporary period of job protection for workers who clean, secure and maintain office towers, malls, and other commercial property when service contracts change hands. However, the current law only covers contractors employing at least 15 service workers — a threshold too low to cover medium-sized buildings — and it doesn’t require enough disclosure to ensure proper monitoring. The amendments to the law will be introduced at the Board of Legislators meeting Monday evening by its co-sponsors, County Legislators Kitley Covill, Catherine Borgia and David Tubiolo.
“Cleaners who suddenly lose their jobs don’t have any way to find out whether or not the replacement company was following the law,” said Lenore Friedlaender, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU, which represented the displaced White Plains cleaners. “We hope today the Board of Legislators will pass a set of important changes that will close loopholes and clear up the shadowy behavior that has allowed low-road companies to abuse good workers like Gabriela and Araceli.”
32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country with 175,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., including 4,500 in Hudson Valley