March 2011 Lunds & Byerly’s Action

¡¡¡YA BASTA!!!

Workers Demand an End to Fear in the Workplace while Cleaning Lunds & Byerly’s stores

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 Update

Today, over 20 workers and allies protested outside of Lunds & Byerly’s in Uptown demanding an end to fear in the workplace.  Around 12 workers who clean Lunds & Byerly’s stores recently lost their jobs without any notice when the company changed cleaning contractors at four of their stores.  Those who continue working live in constant fear: fear of a supervisor who has allegedly sexually harassed several female employees; fear of losing their jobs without notice; and fear of constantly increasing workload and decreasing wages.  Workers have decided that enough is enough…

 

Some workers chanted and passed out fliers while others provided testimonies of their experiences working for National Floor Maintenance cleaning Lunds & Byerly’s stores, including:

  • Alma Figueroa Yañez (in the picture above on the right) explained that when she complained about being sexually harassed by a co-worker, management retaliated against her by moving her to another store that she could not get to because of lack of transportation. She was no longer able to work.  Several months later she discovered that the person accused of sexually harassing her was still working at the company.
  • One worker who has testified that her supervisor (Gonzalo Liborio) took her out of the store where she was working to cover for a worker at another store.  According to her testimony, instead of taking her there, he started touching her inappropriately, drove her to a hotel and asked her to “rest” awhile with him.
  • A former supervisor who knows of at least three female employees who were fired after complaining about being sexually harassed by their supervisor (Gonzalo Liborio).

Simon Ramirez (pictured above on the left in the interview) works for Carlson Building Maintenance, the company that replaced National Floor Maintenance at the four Lunds & Byerly’s stores.  Simon and several co-workers from Carlson have filed complaints with the United States Department of Labor for unpaid wages.  He  explained that merely changing cleaning contractors will not resolve the issue.  If Lunds & Byerly’s main priority for cleaning contracts is the lowest possible bid, the workers who clean their stores will continue to face deteriorating wages and working conditions.  The only way to change this reality is for Lunds & Byerly’s and other retail chains to include the voice of cleaning workers and expand their priorities for their cleaning contracts to include fair wages and working conditions.

 

At the end of the protest, workers and allies insisted that until Lunds & Byerly’s takes responsibility to ensure that the workers who clean their stores can work without constant fear, we will bring this issue to the broader public.