Mary Kay Henry has been elected as the new president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United States' largest and fastest-growing union. Henry, the former SEIU international executive vice president, is the union's first female president.

"We all know there is an incredible crisis for workers happening in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and we want to redouble our union's efforts to renew our commitment to organizing as a top priority, to refocus our political agenda so it's grounded in your efforts...and to renew our relationship all across the American labor movement so SEIU's 2.2 million members can join hands with 14 million other unionized workers in this country," said Henry in a video message to union members.

Henry's election comes after former president Andy Stern announced his plans to retire after 14 years at the helm.

"There's never a perfect time for any long-term leader to depart or for organizations to make transitions," said Stern in a video message. "I've seen too many leaders who have stayed on too long and I have no intention of being one of them."

Innovation Award Winners Announced

Baudoin Wash-Systems won the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Innovation Award at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam trade show for its Travelator Cleaner. The product is capable of cleaning large expanses of glass in airports and shopping malls, including hard-to-reach areas. It was selected as the winner by a jury comprised of international members of the cleaning industry.

The Travelator Cleaner also won the "Equipment/Tools for Cleaning, Care and Safety" category. Other category winners included KŠrcher's BD 50/40 RS scrubber dryer in the "Machines, Accessories and Components" category and Alpheios International's Vive Sustainability Scan in the "Cleaning Management and Training Solutions" category.

More than 80 entries were submitted for the award. From this pool, the jury selected nine nominees. Aside from the aforementioned winners, the candidates included:

  • Hako-Werke for its Hako-AntiBac
  • IPC Gansow for its CT40 BT50 ECS
  • MGS International for its F.I.T. Floormop Injection Tool
  • The Clean Air Factory for its BLOE Connect
  • Avista Time for its Avista Entré
  • Freudenberg Household Products KG for its Vileda Professional E-College

All the registration fees received for the Innovation Award were donated to African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF) Flying Doctors' sanitation project. More than $18,000 was collected for the construction and maintenance of sanitary and water facilities in Mtwara, Tanzania.

In Brief

Dave Bego, president of Indianapolis-based Executive Management Services, was presented with the Great Communicator Award by the National Right to Work Committee for his efforts to communicate the Right to Work message, including his book, "The Devil at My Doorstep," political activity and personal appearances.

New York-based ABM Industries announced that Ted Rosenberg, son of company founder Morris Rosenberg, has passed away. Ted served as a director on the ABM Board from 1962 to 2009.


Letters To The Editor

I want to thank you for your recent article, "Reduce Vandalism with Quick Action and the Right Products," published in the April issue of Contracting Profits. I trust your readers became better familiar with the many vandalism issues facility managers must grapple with, especially in restrooms.

However, I do not think enough attention was paid to one of the key targets of vandalism in school facilities: urinals. For some reason, urinals are a prime target in public schools, and very often it is not the urinal itself as much as it is the exterior plumbing (flush valves, both manual and sensor controlled) that is vandalized.

When this plumbing is tampered with it can be very costly to repair. And these are funds that every school district in the country could put to better use. For instance, things were so bad at the Carlsbad (Calif.) Unified School district that the administration replaced all conventional urinals, which use water and have flush valves, with no-water systems, primarily because they have no exterior plumbing. In addition, most of these non-water using urinals have a trap insert which acts also as a strainer, meaning vandals can not plug up the urinals anymore and overflow them.

Klaus Reichardt is founder and CEO of Waterless Co., Vista, Calif.

In an industry where everything has to be environmentally friendly, now we go and certify chemicals. I say, if you want to keep the environment safe, why not certify the people who keep it safe: the custodian, the janitor, the porter? They have been doing that in Europe since 1976 through the British Institute of Cleaning Science.

In our industry a custodian is accountable for his or her knowledge on the OSHA standards for blood-borne pathogens, hazardous waste, infection control practices, integrated pest management, indoor air quality, safety and security. They are the ones taking care of the environment, so you better hope they know what they are doing, or as a manager, you are not going to look so good.

Why not be as professional as you can, as this is what you have chosen as a career. Let people be aware that even though your task may not require a degree, your function is important. If you were not there to clean their buildings, they would be intolerable to enter on a daily basis. Get certified and be as professional as you can. Yes, certified chemicals are great for the environment, but they cannot think, so what may be safe can become hazardous to an untrained employee.

Joseph Ranaldi, Diversified Services, Massapequa, N.Y.