Labor Department Settles With Target Contractor
The U.S. Department of Labor announced last month that it reached a $1.9 million settlement with Global Building Services of Newhall, Calif., a building service contractor for Target Corp. The Department investigated and found Global had not paid overtime to hundreds of immigrant janitors who often worked seven nights a week cleaning Target stores, according to a New York Times article. This is similar to the situation with contractors for Wal-Mart, which was raided last October.

The complaints brought by the Los Angeles-based Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund watchdog group included janitors being paid a flat rate in cash, without overtime, taxes or workers’ compensation; also, the group found several cleaners were 15 and 16 years old, too young to work more than a few hours a day or late at night. Global fired the workers after the federal inquiry.

In a statement, Global Building Services states that it has changed its practices and has cooperated with investigators since the inquiry was brought to its attention in November of 2002.

"We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with the Department of Labor to compensate our employees," Global states. "The company is fully compliant, and we look forward to serving the needs of our retail customers. We feel this is all behind us now."

Target Corp. also issued a statement, saying that it doesn’t tolerate unethical business practices.

"As a result of Global Building Services’ recent agreement, we are in the process of collecting more information and will be taking appropriate action,” the company states.

Advocacy Group Plans Toilet Summit
Although many people associate the acronym “WTO” with the World Trade Organization, to cleaners in Asia and Europe, it has a different meaning. The World Toilet Organisation, an advocacy group based in Singapore, plans to host its first World Toilet Summit in Beijing, November 17-19. The theme of the event is “Human, Environment and Living,” and it aims to promote “the urgent call for better toilets for health and hygiene reasons.”

Although many Asian and European countries are represented in WTO, the United States is not.

Richard Ellis, J.D., a public health expert with a lifelong interest in cleaning, environmental health and safety engineering has joined The Ashkin Group, a green-cleaning consulting firm in Bloomington, Ind.

Ellis brings 33 years of experience in staff supervision, training, environmental assessment, project management and LEED-EB project documentation skills to his new position. LEED-EB is the green building rating systems for exiting buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Minuteman International, a floor-machine manufacturer based in Addison, Ill., recently announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Hako-Werke International of Germany. A subsidiary of Hako-Werke, also a manufacturer of floor machines, already owns 68 percent of Minuteman International’s common stock.

SEIU UPDATES The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a union representing hundreds of thousands of nurses, food-service workers and janitors, has filed a lawsuit in the Wayne County (Mich.) Circuit Court against the Wayne County Airport Authority and Knight Facilities Management L.L.C, according to

The union asserts the airport authority board ignored results of a competitive bidding process when it selected Knight to provide cleaning services.

In other SEIU news, locals in Portland, Ore. and Seattle have reached contract agreements with facility service providers in those areas. However, contract talks continue as of press time between SEIU Local 32BJ and building service contractors in the New York metropolitan area.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a final rule on its U.S. respiratory protection code, called the Respiratory Protection Standard. The final rule included a revision that adds a “new quantitative fit-testing procedure to assist workers and employers in the proper fit and selection of respirators,” according to an OSHA press release.

SDA Sets Agenda “A Better World Through Hygiene, Health and Wellness” is the theme of The Soap and Detergent Association’s (SDA) 2005 Annual Meeting & Industry Convention. The event will take place January 25-29, 2005 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida.

“The theme of SDA’s 79th Convention highlights the societal benefits of our member companies’ products, across the nation and around the world,” said Ernie Rosenberg, SDA president and CEO. SDA members include manufacturers and marketers of related chemicals as well as household, industrial and institutional cleaning products, their ingredients and finished packaging. SDA members will be able to highlight their individual company contributions in poster displays at the 3rd annual SDA Hall of Fame.

Among the keynote speakers at the SDA Convention will be former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, who will offer perspective on the U.S. political and legislative landscape following the November 2004 elections. Senator Dole will speak on Friday morning, January 28.

Kimberly-Clark, Roswell, Ga., recently released a report claiming that one-third of student restrooms in the United States lack “basic sanitary supplies.” Almost 8 million middle and high school students who were surveyed said they avoid using student restrooms during the school day.

Alto, Chesterfield, Mo., a manufacturer of floor-care equipment, will be closing its St. Louis office, which handled Alto’s marketing department, on September 30. The marketing operations have been relocated to Alto’s Springdale, Ark.-headquarters.

ISSA/IEHA Expand Partnership

The International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), Lincolnwood, Ill, and the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), Westerville, Ohio, have held their trade shows and educational conferences together every other year. Beginning this year, the pair-up will be an annual event.

ISSA/INTERCLEAN New Orleans 2004 will be held in conjunction with the 39th IEHA Educational Conference and Convention.

“IEHA has been a long-standing partner of ours, and we are proud to strengthen the relationship even further,” says ISSA executive director John Garfinkel. “This is an excellent example of how all professionals in the industry can benefit from coming together to network and share ideas.”

The 2004 event also marks the fourth year of the alliance between ISSA and IEHA.

“It has definitely proven to be a positive relationship,” says IEHA CEO Beth Risinger. “It provides professionals in the cleaning and maintenance industry with the opportunity to learn what it takes to stay at the top of their game.”

This four-day event will include educational sessions; recertification review and testing; a member breakfast; chapter and district programs; trade-show access; and a banquet.

GAO to OSHA: Shape Up
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) needs to do a better job of ensuring fairness in its fines for safety violation, according to a report by the General Accounting Office (GAO).

As reported by, GAO found some OSHA offices miscalculated penalties and failed to conduct follow-up inspections.

In 2003, OSHA inspected 40,000 businesses and proposed fines totaling more than $114 million. The average proposed penalty for each serious safety violation was $1,438, and the average final penalty was $863 per violation. Fines against big employers averaged $1,090 more than fines against small businesses. But GAO found that even when the size of the employer and the gravity of the safety violation were taken into account, some industries paid up to $257 more in fines per violation.