The Arlington Young Democrats Call on George Mason University to Recognize the Unionization of Workers on their Arlington Campus
The Arlington Young Democrats have been made aware of unsafe and unfair working conditions on George Mason University’s Arlington campus located on Fairfax Drive. Several stories have made clear that GMU has been hiring contractors for various operations on their campus that do not have the best interest of their workers in mind. These have most notably been involving their custodial staff contracted through LT Services.
On June 9, 2020, then AYD Vice-President Matt Royer interviewed Consuelo Granados, a janitor working on the GMU Arlington Campus, along with a representative from 32BJ SEIU, where Granados detailed that the contractors and the school were not providing their employees with proper personal protective equipment (PPE), were not testing properly for COVID-19 exposures, and were forcing workers to come to work with possible COVID-19 symptoms, in some cases after positive COVID-19 tests, further exposing the rest of the staff to the virus.
On February 7, 2021, the Washington Post published a story further outlining the environment that GMU custodial workers, contracted with LT Services, had to endure. Granados was quoted as saying that she was thousands of dollars in debt from missing work as a result of COVID-19, that her grandson was born prematurely and hospitalized for 3 days, and that she was not medically or financially protected by the contractor in order to help reduce the financial burden.
On February 8, 2021, Magaly Novoa and Eldy Lopez, GMU janitors with a combined 22 years of work for the university, were fired after attempting to organize with 32BJ SEIU. Novoa and Lopez had both submitted evidence prior to that date that their employer had violated their rights, which were settled out of court with the National Labor Relations Board.
These workers, many of whom are immigrants, are afraid for their physical, financial, and legal safety if they do not arrive at work. These janitors risk their health and lives to work for George Mason University and to ensure a clean, healthy work space for staff and students alike. Since 2020, the custodial and janitorial staff who have attempted to organize underneath 32BJ SEIU have been met with intimidation, threats of retaliation, and in the case of Novoa and Lopez, termination.
AYD calls upon George Mason University President Gregory Washington to recognize these worker’s right to organize, investigate the hiring process for these contractors, recognize the workers’ right to organize and hire a responsible contractor to keep these custodians safe, just as they keep the school safe.
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Arlington Young Democrats
Arlington Young Dems
1235 S Clark St
Arlington, VA 22202
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