The cleaning industry is one of many plagued by undocumented workers obtaining employment by fraudulent means. Now, building service contractors can take initiative to tighten up hiring practices at their companies through a unique partnership with federal employment and immigration agencies.

Porter Industries Inc., of Loveland, Colo., first heard about the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) when they saw it in a bid document. The program was formed in 2006 to reduce vulnerabilities in the system that allows illegal aliens to get hired.

IMAGE is a voluntary partnership between employers and ICE to ensure the building of a legal workforce. Employers must adhere to 10 best practices in employment, including the use of the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify employment eligibility program and creating an internal training program regarding the hiring process.

Porter is one of only 35 companies nationwide — and the first cleaning contractor — to be certified in the new program. President Steve Hendrickson was on hand in Washington, D.C., in September to accept the certification and sign a contract with ICE that states the two entities will work together to continue lawful hiring practices.

“Part of my passion is to do what I can to let companies know there’s a way now that if you want to do the right thing, if you say you’re doing the right thing, here’s a way to make it more than just talk,” Hendrickson says. “Here’s a way to walk your talk.”

ICE spends a small percentage of its time on worksite enforcement, Hendrickson says, because of all of the other important areas of customs and immigrations it must police. It’s a win-win situation to create partnerships in which the government can educate companies and build trusting partnerships, and in which employers can hire with more confidence and authority.

“ICE can’t police the whole country,” Hendrickson says. “We can do our part, we can police our own hiring practices, we can encourage other companies to do the same, be of assistance to the government, and it can help employers screen potential hires.”

Not only will ICE honor those who are in the U.S. legally, but it also protects BSCs and their customers from the various unknown and potentially security-related risks associated with hiring illegal immigrants.

“When you have an undocumented worker who’s using false documents, you don’t know who you’re hiring,” Hendrickson says. “In our industry, we turn over keys, we turn over access to highly secure areas.”

Carl Rusnok, central region communications director for ICE, says IMAGE is one way that businesses can proactively seek compliance with employment law.

“This certification helps ensure that the current and future employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. By fully complying with immigration laws, businesses need not be concerned that trained employees will be arrested, leaving no-notice gaps in their agencies,” Rusnok says.

Industry associations should take a look at IMAGE as a program to endorse throughout the cleaning industry, Hendrickson says.

“Now there is a way to make sure you’re doing it right and verify you’re doing it right and I hope our industry would say, ‘Let’s do it right,’”he says.


ISSA Forms Alliance with BSCAI

ISSA, Lincolnwood, Ill., and the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI), Chicago, announced an agreement to form an alliance in order to capitalize on the strengths of both organizations.

“Our strategic partnership with ISSA will drive additional value to our members and further enhance the networking, educational and professional services provided to our members,” says BSCAI president Ernie Clark in a news release.

The two associations will collaborate to co-host or assist with events, educational programs, membership and regulatory and civic issues.

The agreement is designed to create improved understanding, efficiency and sharing between all parties.

“It has been a long time coming,” says ISSA president Bob Stahurski. “As the worldwide cleaning industry association, ISSA values our strategic alliances with all our industry partners and welcomes this opportunity.”

The formation of the strategic partnership has been in progress for several months and driven by requests from members, vendor parties and leadership of both associations.

Additional details of the strategic partnership are being finalized and will be announced at the BSCAI Annual Convention and Trade Show on Saturday, March 7, 2009.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I really enjoyed the article on Corporate Conscience. It was very thought provoking.

For the last 15 years, we have been active both financially and through committee involvement and volunteerism for the Multiple Sclerosis “Fishing for a Cure” Walleye Tournament held on Lake Erie every June. We also are one of the primary sponsors of Akron’s Lunchtime Concert Series on Cascade Plaza during the summer months. Although this one is not charitable, it gives back to a city where a large portion of our sales are generated.

As companies look to cut expenses to get through a tight economy, all of us will be challenged to consider at what level we can continue contributing. However, I think the act of volunteering and providing or participating in events that benefit charities are great alternatives to writing a check.

We have a company golf outing that is a large expense for us, and I’m not sure that there is much of a ROI from this event. On the flip side, we had a customer sell out 144 spots in their charity golf outing this past summer. It got us thinking maybe our event should be for charity. I think this demonstrates there are alternative ways to be a good corporate citizen if the charity dollars within organizations get squeezed.

Thanks again for the article.


Chris Matejka
VP Sales & Marketing
Quota Contract Cleaning Services, Inc.


Anthony Bertini, director of operations for Bravo! Building Services Inc., Piscataway, N.J., has earned the designation of Registered Building Service Manager by the Building Service Contractors Association International.

Orlando-based, Grosvenor Building Services has received CIMS (Cleaning Industry Management Standard) Certification With Honors, the highest quality of recognition of the ISSA.


Great Lakes Cleaning Inc., St. Joseph, Mich., has been acquired by New Image Building Services, Mount Clemens, Mich.

Enviro-Solutions Inc., Peterborough, Ontario, has entered into a joint venture/strategic marketing and production agreement with Chicago-based Nuance Solutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nuance Solutions will manufacture and market Enviro-Solutions products for delivery to the western half of the United States.

CleanPower, LLC, Milwaukee, has acquired Milwaukee-based Al’s Window Cleaning and Building Services.

Al’s Window Cleaning & Building Services is the largest window cleaning company in the state, serving commercial, industrial and residential clients. The company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of CleanPower and will continue to do business under its current name. Owner Patrick Balistreri will remain with the company and focus on new business.