Solidarity Halifax asks us not to forget about the Black janitors who worked at Founders Square and were fired when the cleaning contract was flipped by Armour Group. Here is something we can do, friends.
We talk with Jackie Swaine of the SEIU and Danny Cavanagh, president of the NSFL, who together are calling for legislation with teeth to protect workers against wage theft and contract flipping.
In this article originally published in RankandFile.ca on April 4 Jason Edwards explains what legislated measures would protect workers like the Founders Square cleaners against contract flipping and resulting job loss and loss of union representation. This morning I met with NSFL president Danny Cavanagh and SEIU Local 2 president Jackie Swaine who are lobbying the government to enact similar legislation, we will have a story on that later.
Another rally at Founders Square this morning. Armour Group may have assumed those noisy happenings would stop by now, but supporters of the fired Black workers aren’t going away. For this reporting job I was joined by my son Simon, an excellent photographer.
News release: Join us as #WeRise to end poverty, precariousness, and prejudice in the janitorial industry. Let’s show that Halifax is united for workers rights and for an end to racial discrimination in all its forms.
Lynn Jones, who helped organize the protests in support of the unjustly fired Founders Square janitors, is very happy about how Halifax responded to her call for action. But she is angry about the way the unfair treatment of Black workers was sanitized in much of the local press. Reporters, grow some spine, she says, and ask some follow-up questions rather than just write down what the Armour Group and the new cleaning contractor tell you.
Picketing continues in support of the unjustly fired Black cleaners who used to work at Founders Square, where, as a tenant tells us that, counter to the Armour Group’s claims, they did a good job. We also talk to Omar Joof about being poor, Black and immigrant, and to Gary Burrill, who believes the government, as a major tenant of the building, should speak out.
In an uplifting display of solidarity some 50 people, trade union activists, members of the faith community, and others, gathered in front of Founders Square in downtown Halifax at noon today to offer support to the seven Black cleaners who were recently unjustly fired, as if their lives don’t count.
The Armour Group, property managers of Founders Square, have pointed to poor service to justify the termination of the janitorial services contract with GDI, causing the layoff of seven Black janitors. This Saturday Robert Wright, a tenant of the building, wrote a letter to set the record straight. “I have been in that building for several years and have never had occasion to complain about the state of cleanliness in the mornings.” Wright wants both the Armour Group as well as one of its main tenants, the Province of Nova Scotia, to right this wrong.
Three good unionized jobs are lost as the National Research Council (NRC) in Halifax awards its new cleaning contract to a non-unionized company, paying minimum wage and providing no benefits. About fifty people gathered at the NRC office on Oxford Street to demand better.