WBEZ | janitors http://www.wbez.org/tags/janitors Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Unionized janitors lose battle over O’Hare jobs http://www.wbez.org/news/unionized-janitors-lose-battle-over-o%E2%80%99hare-jobs-104392 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3409_1387167671_43c9f53d5f.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hundreds of unionized janitors turned in their badges Friday at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport after losing their jobs in a contentious contract deal.</p><p>The task of cleaning and washing the windows at O&rsquo;Hare will now be taken over by 400 non-unionized workers.</p><p>Labor leaders and union members held protests Monday through Thursday. They targeted Mayor Rahm Emanuel for union-busting.</p><p>&ldquo;These were already organized union members,&rdquo; said Laura Garza, Secretary-Treasurer with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1. &ldquo;So the question for the city is, why did they eliminate those good jobs, those middle-class jobs in the city? There was no need for the city of Chicago, for our mayor to do this to these workers.&rdquo;</p><p>United Maintenance, the company that won the 5-year contract with the City of Chicago said it&rsquo;s not up to them whether employees are unionized .</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s totally within the purview of the employee whether or not they want to unionize,&rdquo; said Anthony D&rsquo;Angelo, Vice President of Security with United Service Companies which oversees United Maintenance. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not management&rsquo;s decision.&rdquo;</p><p>The face-off between the union and United Maintenance has gotten more heated in the days leading up to the janitors&rsquo; final day on the job, with both sides telling very different versions of the story.</p><p>In press releases this week, SEIU said workers will be paid less for the same work; United Maintenance said it&rsquo;s paying some new hires more than they were making previously at O&rsquo;Hare as employees of Scrubs, Inc. SEIU said workers will have to pay for family health benefits when they didn&rsquo;t before; United Maintenance said its health package will be more comprehensive than the one offered by Scrubs, Inc.</p><p>Officials at the new contractor said they&rsquo;ve hired back 110 workers who were previously with the union. SEIU put that number at 50 out of 400 laid-off workers.</p><p>The starting wage for janitors with United Maintenance is $11.90 - 15 cents less than the starting wage with Scrubs, Inc.</p><p>Garza said SEIU will try to organize the new O&rsquo;Hare workers. She said those who lost their jobs did not want to speak to media Friday after an &ldquo;emotional week&rdquo;, but they are applying for unemployment and looking for work.</p></p> Fri, 14 Dec 2012 12:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/unionized-janitors-lose-battle-over-o%E2%80%99hare-jobs-104392