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Union: We slew Golden Mark.

Union officials have taken credit for putting Long Island-based cleaning contractor Golden Mark Maintenance Ltd. out of business with its continuing efforts to organize workers, in a statement released last week

"A year ago we said that Golden Mark would go union or go out of business. In fact, both things. happened," said Service Employees International Union Local 32 BJ Trustee Mike Fishman.

Repeated telephone calls to. Golden Mark officials seeking comment last week were not returned.

SEIU Local 32 BJ, which represents cleaning workers throughout New York City, said the union has been conducting a year-long organizing campaign that included strikes, demonstrations, and newspaper ads. As a result, hundreds of Golden Mark workers have quit to take jobs with union contractors, Fishman said.

About 150 former Golden Mark employees who cleaned Citibank branch offices at Cooper Union, 19 East 57th St., and 3.60 Lexington Ave., are now working for union contractors, according to Fishman. Workers at 61 Broadway, who have been on strike since June 15, are the most recent employees to unionize, Fishman said.

In a letter Real Estate Weekly obtained from SEIU, the company acknowledged the possibility that some customers would be terminating contracts with Golden Mark "over the next 60 days." The letter, addressed to employees, is dated June 2 and signed by Golden Mark Vice President Timothy Harper. It also states that workers could lose their jobs by Aug. 1.

"Golden Mark expects that if and when any existing contracts are terminated, the customer will enter into agreements with new contractors," the letter states. "The new contractor may not offer you a job and your job with Golden Mark may no longer exist."

The letter is intended to fulfill any requirements that may be imposed under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and that "by providing this information, the company does not concede that the act applies or that notice is otherwise required," the letter states.

SEIU Local 32BJ claims Golden Mark paid its workers as little, as $6 an hour with no benefits. Union cleaners earn $17 an hour with full health and pension coverage. The union also alleges that Golden Mark was charged by the National Labor Relations Board for repeatedly violating federal labor law and paid $190,000 to settle a lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act charging the company with underpaying over 100 workers, according to the release.

Although SEIU Local 32 BJ declared Golden Mark's going out of business "a victory for the union," they named two other local non-union companies where workers are still being underpaid. Some of Golden Mark's former employees are now working for those companies, Fishman said.
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Article Details
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Author:KEITH, NATALIE
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jul 12, 2000
Words:444
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