Fort Belvoir Janitors Win Back Jobs, Lost Wages & Benefits After Federal Contractor Settles Labor Charges
U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) Praises Feds for Speedy Resolution.
Fort Belvoir, VA – Nearly 70 men and women who keep Fort Belvoir safe and clean will receive over $300,000 in wages and benefits owed by their federal contracted employer by August 1, 2013, as a result of a Department of Labor settlement. The agency determined that among other violations, Brown & Pipkins, LLC d/b/a Acsential has failed to pay applicable prevailing wages, including failure to pay the correct base hourly rate, the failure to pay all required holiday pay, and the failure to pay health and welfare since September 1, 2012.
“I am grateful for the Department’s prompt and thorough investigation to ensure the important national security functions at Fort Belvoir continue undeterred,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA). “It’s unacceptable for federal contractors to shortchange janitors, who are some of the most vulnerable workers in our community.”
Moran urged the Atlanta based contractor to reach a fair contract for the janitors after dozens walked off the job on strike in February, protesting numerous charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board.
“I was struggling with the loss of money and benefits as a single mother of three,” said Maria Aleman, a Fort Belvoir janitor from Lorton. “We work very hard and are happy to put this ordeal behind us.” Aleman reported that her wages of $13.80 per hour were unlawfully reduced to $11 per hour, and that her vacation days and sick leave time were both cut in half.
“Too many federal contractors like try to break the law and short-change low-wage workers,” said 32BJ SEIU Capital Area Director, Jaime Contreras.
Earlier this year, Escab Enterprises, a federal cleaning contractor, failed to pay nearly 300 janitors who clean and maintain the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University. There was no dispute over whether these workers deserved to be paid.
Escab finally paid janitors at Walter Reed after Navy commanders and elected officials in Maryland like Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown intervened and lent their support to the workers.
With more than 125,000 members in nine states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.