According to a PRNewswire press release, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a formal complaint accusing Boston-based UNICCO Services with "interfering with, restraining and coercing employees" who support the union. The NLRB only files an official complaint after a lengthy investigation establishes probable cause for the allegations.

The complaint charges that UNICCO:

  • Interrogated employees about their union sympathies
  • Spied on workers engaged in union activity
  • Threatened Employees with reprisals, including denial of overtime and reduction of work hours because they supported the union and engaged in union activity
  • Accused employees of being disloyal for supporting the Union and engaging in union activity
  • Prohibited workers from talking about the union when at work
  • Promised better treatment to employees who do not support the union
  • Required workers to sign documents disavowing their support for the union
Janitors at the University of Miami earn some of the lowest wages in the country, earning as little as $6.40 an hour without employer-paid health insurance. Unionized janitors who work for the same company in other cities earn higher wages and are provided health insurance. At Harvard University in Boston, UNICCO janitors earn between $13 and $14 an hour and have fully paid health insurance.

Nelson Hernandez, a janitor who has worked at the University for 25 years, was threatened after his supervisors found a leaflet supporting the union with his picture on it. "Because I dared to stand up for better wages, and health insurance, UNICCO threatened to fire me. But I didn't back down, our fight is too important," Hernandez said.

University of Miami students, Coral Gables clergy, janitors and SEIU Local 11 have asked Donna Shalala to immediately step in to safeguard the rights of the janitors who clean the campus, ensure that they are provided with a safe work place and to establish a responsible contractor policy for contractors hired by the University.

Related news items targeting the University of Miami can be found here.