Local political leaders, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Montgomery County Executive Mark Elrich, Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol, and Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott, today warned commercial building owners not to lay off or cut benefits to cleaners on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“32BJ members are the office cleaners and security officers, among others who are on the frontlines of the Coronavirus crisis, keeping buildings clean and safe for everyone,” the leaders said in a statement. “The work they do every day is invaluable and 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.”
Noting that the metropolitan Washington area has the healthiest real estate market in the country and tenants continue to pay the highest rents in the country, the leaders said that the owners and their contractors have a responsibility to their cleaners and officers.
“These men and women have performed their jobs admirably under extraordinarily difficult circumstances (yet) at the same time that cleaners and security officers have stepped forward to do their jobs during this outbreak, they are now being threatened with layoffs and reductions…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,” the leaders added. “Building owners can and must ensure the well-being and health of workers and their families.”
With more than 175,000 members in 11 states, including over 20,000 in the D.C. area and Baltimore, MD, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.