SEIU Local 2

SEIU Local 2

March 23, 2011 13:24 ET

Brentwood Town Centre Workers Announce Weekend Action at Mall

MLA Expresses Support for Long Time Employees Facing Layoffs as Shape Properties Takes Over Mall Management

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 23, 2011) - A group of cleaners and maintenance workers employed at the Brentwood Town Centre held a press conference yesterday to announce an action for this coming Saturday at the mall. The entire mall cleaning and maintenance staff are facing layoffs at the end of the month.

"I am less than four years away from retirement," says Tony Vaz. "What am I going to do?" Vaz is one of the 17 workers looking at layoffs at the end of the month. He started working at Brentwood Town Centre almost 39 years ago when he was just 22 years old. He has seen about seven management and cleaning companies come and go, but says he has never seen anything like this.

The entire cleaning and maintenance staff at the Brentwood Town Centre stand to lose their jobs because Shape Properties, who own a 50% share of the mall, are taking over the mall management and plan on contracting out the cleaning and maintenance work, without making any commitments to the existing employees.

Support for the workers is building as community members realize what is happening. "We must protect good family supporting jobs in our province," said MLA for Surrey-Newton Harry Bains. Bains says the workers have his "full support in their endeavours to fight to retain these jobs."

Jessie Hon Wen has been cleaning at the mall for almost four years. She needs her job to support her son. "All together we have dedicated 159 years of service to Brentwood Town Centre," she said. "We don't think it's fair the way we are being treated by Shape Properties."

The workers have announced an action at the mall for this coming Saturday and are welcoming community support and participation. "We believe that Burnaby's families deserve good jobs," said Wen. "Brentwood Town Centre used to be considered a community partner in Burnaby. But what kind of community partner cuts decent paying jobs with benefits in our community?"

PUBLIC ACTION
 
WHAT: Brentwood Mall Workers & Supporters Rally for Good Jobs in Burnaby
 
WHEN: Saturday March 26 @ 12 PM
 
WHERE: North side of the Brentwood Skytrain Station

The workers didn't wait until Saturday to get the ball rolling. A number of them and their supporters handed out leaflets at the mall after the press conference. The leaflets encourage mall patrons to contact Shape Properties and ask them to behave like responsible corporate citizens.

BACKGROUND:

Brentwood Town Centre workers have been able to win benefits for their families over the years and make improvements to their wages. At the end of the month they could lose everything.

A Vancouver-based real estate company called Shape Properties owns a 50% share of the mall. They have decided to take over management of the mall and have made it clear to workers that they have no intention of retaining staff or making a commitment to maintain wages and standards for the workers when they contract out the cleaning and maintenance work.

Brentwood Town Centre used to be considered a community partner in Burnaby. Back in 2008 the mall won the "Burnaby Community Spirit Award," and to this day, their motto is "Fits Your Family."

The Service Employees International Union is the largest and fastest growing union in North America, with 100,000 workers in Canada and two million workers across Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico.

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