As multifamily owners and residents around the country ask what they can do for their property workers while the world enters its second half of a year in the grips of the coronavirus crisis, building staff employed by Parsippany-based Planned Companies went on strike last month to demand an end to what they claim are “untenable” working conditions.
The Hudson Reporter cites officials with 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, who say that on September 16, more than 100 residential building service workers at Planned properties in northern New Jersey petitioned their employer to demand hazard pay of an additional $2 an hour, as well as 14 extra paid sick days to be used for quarantine purposes during the pandemic. Additionally, according to the Reporter 32BJ alleges that when employees attempted to organize and join the union, they were intimidated and harassed by the company. Planned rebuffed the group’s demands and denied using intimidation tactics.
With support from the union, as well as elected officials including Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea, Jersey City Council President Joyce Watterman, and Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon, workers from eight buildings in Jersey City, Hoboken, East Orange, Secaucus, and Guttenberg walked off the job on September 24 and rallied in front of two downtown Jersey City residential buildings operated by Planned: 77 Hudson Street and 99 Hudson Street. According to the Hudson Reporter, the latter is the tallest building in New Jersey and the third tallest condo building in the country.
“We’re taking the streets because Planned has yet again failed to respect the workers’ right to organize free from retaliation,” says Vice President and New Jersey State Director of 32BJ Kevin Brown of the strike and subsequent rally. “This is unconscionable at any time. During a pandemic, it’s downright despicable.”
During the rally, according to the Reporter, Brown called for a moment of silence for union supporter Dario Cardenas, a porter employed by Planned at The Beacon in Jersey City who died earlier this year from COVID-19-related complications.