Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sympathy strikes twice

Burbs: Wyeth janitors walk-out

(Original Publication: March 16, 2006)

Thirteen workers at the Wyeth Pharmaceuticals plant in Pearl River walked off the job yesterday in a show of support for striking janitors at the University of Miami in Florida.

The laborers, all members of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union and employed by Unicco, a Newton, Mass.-based facilities-maintenance company, walked off their jobs at the vast Wyeth complex early yesterday morning, the union said.

The striking Wyeth workers, which made up the entire day shift, were joined by fellow union members at three other businesses within the region that have contracts with Unicco: Gen Re Corp. in Stamford, Conn.; Travelers in Hartford, Conn.; and Telcordia Technologies Inc. in Piscataway, N.J.

In total, more than 100 workers honored picket lines at the four locations, union spokeswoman Kate Ferranti said. Wyeth didn't return a call seeking comment. The striking Wyeth workers are expected back on the job today. The union was protesting what it said are unfair labor practices by Unicco against janitors seeking to organize at the University of Miami.

The Miami workers went on strike two weeks ago in a dispute about health-care benefits, wages and working conditions, the union said.

"Cleaners in the Northeast earn good wages and have health-care benefits, but not in Miami," Mike Fishman, president of Local 32BJ, said in a statement.

The union noted that Unicco's unionized workers in New York suburban areas earn about $10 an hour with health benefits supplied to full-time workers.

The striking workers in Miami earn $6.40 an hour, the union said, and don't have health benefits.

Hartford Courant Local Briefing March 16, 2006

Janitors Stage Sympathy Action

About 60 Hartford-based janitors briefly walked off their jobs Tuesday night to show support for janitors at the University of Miami whose strike for the right to form a union is entering its third week.The Hartford janitors, who are members of Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, clean for St. Paul Travelers Cos. through a contract with UNICCO. The striking janitors who clean the University of Miami also work for UNICCO and say the company committed unfair labor practices during their attempt to form a union.Janitors who work for UNICCO in Stamford, and in New Jersey and New York, also walked off a shift this week in honor of the picket lines in Miami, according to Local 32BJ.

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