Last September, Millennium Building Service janitors approached property managers for Nike to ask for them to speak up for janitors’ job quality at the Nike corporate headquarters. The janitors were paid poverty wages, had no access to affordable health insurance, believed they were being denied protected sick time, and wanted a voice on the job. They asked Nike to communicate to Millennium, their employer, that Millennium should work with their workers. Millennium refused to talk with janitors when they raised concerns directly.
In July, Millennium janitors celebrated victory. After months of organizing their coworkers, and filing federal charges related to alleged interrogation, retaliation and coercion, Nike decided to choose a janitorial contractor that listens to its workers. Nike’s property manager revealed that they decided to end their relationship with Millennium for janitorial services, and instead choose one of the many responsible contractors listed on the Responsible Contractor Guide.
“We asked Millennium for a fair process for our union, but they wouldn’t talk to us. Now we’ll have a union! We wish MBS would have agreed to get out of the way of workers organizing, but Nike’s decision to use a responsible contractor means our jobs are protected and will keep getting better!”
– John Fundorhide, Nike Janitor, SEIU 49 Member
The decision to choose a responsible contractor at Nike means that Millennium workers’ jobs are safe – the incoming janitorial company will retain existing employees who wish to remain at their location. Moreover, Nike can know that workers have guarantees to protections for their rights on the job, fair wages and a process to resolve disputes with workers should they arise, which all can improve worker morale and service quality.
Nike is joining a long list of Portland-area responsible contractors who aren’t willing to gamble with their janitorial services. For more on responsible contracting, and a list of local responsible contractors, visit www.RaiseAmericaPDX.org/Responsible.