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PNS Daily Newscast - April 19, 2018 


A contentious Farm Bill heads to U.S. House for debate. Also on our rundown: Gaps cited in anti-discrimination protections for small-business employees and nonprofit volunteers; plus power out for much of Puerto Rico; and some warning signs, that increased youth activism may not correspond to voter turnout.

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Hardship for Dismissed Office Building Cleaners

Displaced office cleaners staged an action Wednesday afternoon in front of an office building in Rocky Hill, where they say their contracts were abruptly cancelled, despite some working 15 years or more in the building. Courtesy: 32BJ SEIU.
Displaced office cleaners staged an action Wednesday afternoon in front of an office building in Rocky Hill, where they say their contracts were abruptly cancelled, despite some working 15 years or more in the building. Courtesy: 32BJ SEIU.
July 16, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. – Many would find it hard to imagine workers who had put in a full day's work cleaning an office building, some for 15 years or more, would be reduced to accepting food handouts.

Displaced cleaning workers and their supporters staged a demonstration action at an office building at 500 Enterprise Ave. in Rocky Hill on Wednesday.

Washington Fernandez, who cleaned the building for five years for the building's subcontractor Delcon, says he worked hard enough to earn two jobs – but recently received notice both jobs had been terminated.

"I worked five years in this building," he says. "Two jobs, full time and part time. It's a surprise because it's really hard right now. I don't have work, full time or part time. So it's really hard for me."

An executive for KS Enterprises, the building's owner, says they were only given 30 days' notice by Delcon the cleaning workers' contract was being terminated. He says the company had to scramble to find new workers. The cleaners' union, 32BJ SEIU, says it requested the displaced workers be given the chance to reapply for their jobs – but the building owner has declined to hire 10 of the 11 employees.

Domingo Guerreroa, a 32BJ SEIU member, says he's not to the point where he needs help meeting his food needs, but he has had to cut back on "just about everything." Some of those cutbacks include summer classes for his children, so he can pull from his savings to cover his bills.

"I worked for 15 years here, so now came a new company," he says. "They moved all the people because they like to pay minimum wage and don't like to pay benefits."

Supporters gave thumbs-up signs to the displaced cleaners, along with canned goods, breakfast cereals and cold cuts to help them make ends meet.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT