SEIU Local 2.on

SEIU Local 2.on

April 06, 2009 10:22 ET

Fired Workers and Supporters Rally to Demand Justice

Local Politicians Join SEIU in Calling for Janitors' Reinstatement

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 6, 2009) - Dozens of workers rallied and held a press conference today demanding justice for janitors who were recently fired by Evripos Janitorial Services. Politicians, cleaners, supporters, and union organizers all came together at Tunney's Pasture to send a message to the cleaning company.

"Respect the law. Respect your employees," said Claude Derose, one of the terminated cleaners.

The four workers, fired in February and early March, feel their rights have been violated and are committed to fighting for justice. "There is no need to fear because united we are strong," said Sainvilus Thomas, another fired worker.

Sean McKenny, President of the Ottawa District Labour council (ODLC), PM Paul Dewar and City Councillor Alex Cullen all expressed their support for the janitors at the press conference.

"There are over one hundred thousand workers employed in the property services industry in Canada as cleaners, security and maintenance workers," said MP Paul Dewar.

"Many property service workers are paid at or below the poverty line and are trapped in subcontracting schemes that deny them their basic statutory rights."

All four of the cleaners are immigrants and three of them emigrated from Haiti.

"This is an embarrassment. How can companies act like this in our Nation's capital?" said Anu Sharma, Organizer for SEIU Local 2. "Many immigrants flee to Canada to escape poverty and persecution, and this is what awaits them? As a country we can and must do better than this."

An Unfair Labour Practice application has been filed by SEIU Local 2 with the Ministry of Labour. The complaint alleges the terminations were as a result of the workers participation in union activities and are in violation of the Labour Relations Act.

The complaint also alleges Mirreille Romance, one of the terminated cleaners, required medical attention as a result of management's aggressive and abusive treatment.

There is also an allegation that Sainvilus Thomas, another fired cleaner, was physically threatened by management, "They tore my shirt and became physically aggressive." he said. "I felt humiliated."

The workers' stories and the legal complaint are all available on the Justice for Janitors campaign website.

Justice for Janitors is a workers' organization fighting to raise cleaners out of poverty and to improve cleaning industry standards. The benefits would also be enjoyed by building tenants, cleaning contractors and property managers alike.

The Service Employees International Union is the largest and fastest growing union in North America, with 100,000 workers in Canada and 2 million workers across Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico.

Contact Information

  • SEIU Local 2.on
    Anu Sharma