Home Census Census Bureau workers protest cuts to hours and benefits

Census Bureau workers protest cuts to hours and benefits


Raidizon Mercedes of Riverdale worked as a janitor for 14 years to help clean up the US Census Bureau offices in Suitland.
Mercedes, a father of three, said his daily eight-hour shift was cut in half more than a month ago after Alutiiq Logistics and Maintenance Services (ALMS) took over as a company from subcontractor cleaning for the office.
“I have a family that I have to take care of. I have bills to pay, “he told the Census Bureau on Thursday, July 15.” What is happening is not correct. “
He joined at least two dozen colleagues and members of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in protesting Alutiiq’s decision not to keep an ongoing contract so that workers keep their same working hours fulltime. In addition, the company cut health care, pensions and other benefits.
Mercedes and her colleagues are seen as essential workers who have continued to work during the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the DC area since March 2020.
Jaime Contreras, vice president of 32BJ SEIU, said the entrepreneur seeks to eliminate parts of the contract that harm immigrant workers.
An example, he said, would be the removal of temporary protected status.
The designation granted by the US Department of Homeland Security is intended for those fleeing other countries due to natural disasters, conflict and other extraordinary circumstances. On arrival, these people can receive a work permit and are safe from deportation.
Contreras said the current contract allows these workers up to 90 days to deal with issues such as immigration before losing their jobs. Some of the over 40 workers are GST holders.
“It’s union breakdown,” he said. “It’s shameful and its workers deserve better than that.
Will Powell, a public relations manager for the Central Atlantic region of the General Services Administration, said in an email that Alutiiq’s cleanup contract for the Census Bureau went into effect on June 1.
Malia Villegas, senior vice president of community investments at Afognak Native Corp., released an email statement and said Alutiiq received a contract from GSA in March. Alutiiq is a subsidiary of Afognak headquartered in Alaska.
“After contract award, ALMS worked with the existing workforce according to its plan to employ as many of these people as possible, and it did so with a 91% success rate,” Villegas said. “The ALMS adheres to all aspects of the Service Contracts Act and has effectively maintained the salaries and benefits of its employees to include the payment of dues previously paid into the various union funds of each bargaining member. “
Villegas said negotiations with the union were continuing.
Rosa Pereda de Forestville, who ran the day care service at the Census Bureau for 20 years, said her daily work hours were reduced from eight to six. Pereda, who spoke Spanish as Contreras translated into English, said Alutiiq wanted to reduce sick days from 18 to 12.
Pereda “was depressed” and became emotional as she spoke not only of supporting her family in Prince George County, but also in El Salvador.
If negotiations continue to fail, the next step will be to involve representatives of Congress. Representative Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) represents the 4th Congressional District which includes the location of the Census Bureau.
“It will intensify if [Alutiiq doesn’t] do the right thing, ”Contreras said.
Twitter: @jabariwill

Photo by William J. Ford - Washington Informer Editor

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Editor

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while studying at Bowie State University and thought writing for the school newspaper would help. I don’t know how much it helped me, but I enjoyed it so much that I decided to keep doing it, which I still really enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. In fact, I still play basketball, or at least try to play basketball, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – watching my son and my two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad decision by an official in a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite dishes include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24/7. The strangest thing that ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or the money to change the world, I would make sure everyone had three meals a day. And even though I don’t have a favorite motto or quote, I keep laughing, which keeps me from going crazy. You can reach me in several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or by email, [email protected]

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