For immediate release
August 20, 2007
Unfair labor practice strike at city vendor Prudential Overall Supply could pull that rug right out from under City's feet. Prudential workers ask City Council to urge Prudential to respect the law and deal with workers fairly, forestall interruption in service.
Beverly Hills—Prudential Overall Supply workers, today, rallied outside city hall with community and labor supporters, before going inside to speak at the city council meeting regarding a possible interruption of city laundry service. The workers came to Beverly Hills from all over the Southland seeking the City’s assistance to avoid an unfair labor practices strike at multiple Prudential facilities.
“We hope that the City Council here will call Prudential and convince them to follow the law for the good of workers and the City,” said Rosa Castro, a worker at Prudential’s Van Nuys facility, which washes items for the City. “We want justice and respect for all Prudential workers.”
Across the Western United States, Prudential workers are seeking to improve working conditions and earn a living wage. Prudential has responded with threats, coercion and intimidation. UNITE HERE has helped Prudential workers to file unfair labor practice charges alleging violations of federal labor law in multiple Prudential facilities in California. Union contracts with five other facilities in Los Angeles County expire August 14th. Workers may be forced into an unfair labor practice strike, which could cause service interruptions for customers like Beverly Hills.
“I can only afford individual health care, but not cover my family under the company plan,” said Angel de Jesus Torres, a washroom employee at Prudential’s Vista facility. “When I spoke up about the changes that we wanted to make in our workplace, I was screamed at. The company refused to even accept our petition for change.”
Unfortunately, Prudential’s violations of the law may not be restricted to National Labor Relations Act. The company is accused of violating wage and benefit standards on public contracts, as well. Last month, Prudential workers filed complaints alleging the violation of living wage laws in Los Angeles, San Diego and Oakland. The City of San Diego responded by announcing the termination of Prudential’s contract for violations of the living wage. Officials in Los Angeles and Oakland are investigating the workers’ complaints. The federal Department of Labor is also investigating alleged violations of the wage, benefit, holiday and paid time off standards under the Service Contract Act at seven Prudential plants in California and Arizona. Prudential holds millions of dollars in contracts with federal, state and local government agencies.
“We worked on contracts for the City of San Diego for years, but no one ever told us we should be paid the living wage,” Said Maria Gurrola, a laundry worker at Prudential’s Chula Vista facility. “A three dollar an hour raise would have made a big difference for my family.”
Based in Irvine, Prudential had $127 million in revenue and 10% growth last year alone. While Prudential’s customers include 110 of the Fortune 500 Companies, including well known names like Baxter Laboratories, Amgen and Intel, Prudential workers struggle with poverty and lack of health care.
Prudential Overall Supply is the largest regional uniform and cleanroom laundry company based in California. The company employs approximately 1700 people in ten states.
UNITE HERE represents 50,000 workers in the laundry industry. Nearly 300 Prudential workers are represented by UNITE HERE.
For more background information on Prudential and workers’ enforcement claims see: http://www.serviceworkersrising.org/prudential/
For further information contact: Laura Moran 614-312-2930.