For immediate release
September 1, 2006
--Employees Vow to Continue Their Struggle for Fair Working Conditions at Uniform Industry Giant Cintas--
New York, NY, August 31, 2006 – UNITE HERE announced today its intention to appeal a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Yesterday, Judge J. Stewart Dalzell granted summary judgment to plaintiffs in the case who alleged that their rights had been violated when personal information was obtained by UNITE HERE through Department of Motor Vehicle records.
“This lawsuit is being orchestrated and financially backed by Cintas. It is one more action the company has taken over the years to prevent workers from exercising their rights,” said Liz Gres, an organizing director for UNITE HERE. “While we were disappointed with yesterday’s decision and plan to appeal the ruling, Cintas cannot hide the fact that it faces many lawsuits by its own workers. The company’s appalling record speaks for itself, and we will continue to support Cintas workers in their struggle for justice.”
UNITE HERE contacted Cintas workers in the course of gathering information for litigation which is permitted by the law.
“In my plant, Cintas was violating a local living wage law. They were paying us less money than the law required. We would never have learned this without talking to organizers from the union. For us it’s important that the union visit us at home to educate us about our rights,” said Francisca Amaral, a former Cintas worker who is owed thousands of dollars in back pay.
An Alameda County Superior Court judge recently found Cintas violated Hayward, California’s Living Wage Ordinance and ordered the company to pay workers over $1 million in back wages and interest. There are ongoing cases against Cintas in federal and state courts around the nation asserting violations including: gender and race discrimination, violation of living wage laws and violation of overtime laws. Cintas recently settled dozens of charges that were being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board involving unlawful harassment, intimidation, and surveillance of workers who have tried to exercise their right to organize.
Since 2003, Cintas workers have been actively seeking to win living wages, affordable health insurance, safe working conditions and other workplace improvements.
UNITE HERE is North America’s union for laundry, apparel, hospitality, and gaming workers. The union represents nearly half a million workers.
For more information on Cintas workplace violations, including interviews with workers, please contact Liz Gres at 646-522-9754 or Ahmer Qadeer at 646-872-2256.