Community to Escalate Against Building Service Company Worsening Living Standards for Struggling Families

*** Media Advisory for Thursday, April 23 ***

Contact: Colin O’leary, colin.oleary@seiu-usww.org or (415) 374-6074

Community to Escalate Against Building Service Company Worsening Living Standards for Struggling Families

Contractor’s Arrogant Defiance of Law Would Set Dangerous Precedent

San Francisco, CA – A coalition of labor, community, and local leaders will confront Park Merced apartment leasing management — one of the largest privately owned residential complex in the country in what is one of the most profitable industries in the world — over the decision to terminate the employment of an entire staff that has worked at the location for years, in some cases decades, and select Preferred Building Services — a contractor known to violate the law, pay below area standards, and drop benefits for workers.

WHAT:                   Protest against treatment of maintenance workers in controversial high-rise apartment project.

WHEN:                  Thursday, April 23 at noon.

WHERE:                 Park Merced External Leasing Office. 3711 Nineteenth AVE, San Francisco, CA 94132.

Preferred Building Services was hired last week under murky conditions, which resulted in the dismissal of long-term janitors and handymen workers that benefited from stable wages, benefits, and a union. Existing local and state law dictate that maintenance employees must be offered work and retained for a certain period when a maintenance contractor changes. Preferred Building Services failed to comply with this process and is thus in defiance of the law.

Allowing Preferred Building Services to unilaterally refuse to comply with laws designed to protect workers in the low wage industry sets a dangerous precedent for families most vulnerable to the Bay area’s sky rocketing livings costs. It is also in contradiction of Park Merced Investors Group’s previous search for union-friendly contractors to replace outgoing VMP Maintenance Management.

A growing coalition is calling on Parkmerced management to respect and recognize union standards for janitors and handymen and support reinstatement of their employment. Coalition supporters include Jobs with Justice, Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco Grey Panthers, San Francisco ACCE, California Faculty Association San Francisco State Chapter, United Educators of San Francisco, American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, SEIU 1021, California Nurses Association, and Supervisors Eric Mar, John Avalos, and David Campos.

Undermining pay and benefit standards for workers already being hit by rising living costs is the latest pattern of exhibited behavior for Park Merced. The project has been known to stir controversy among local families concerned with being displaced and priced out of living in the area.

The incident at Park Merced puts into question its wealthy developer’s intentions and consequences of its actions within the raging debate on gentrification as it seeks to construct luxury housing in other parts of the city.

 

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