Shared office space provider WeWork has reached an agreement with the union representing cleaners at its New York and Boston locations who lost their jobs in August, the company said today.
"Since I have a big family I am very happy to hear this good news and I am happy to go back to work," said Ivan Castellan, who worked as a cleaner for WeWork in New York City for three years before his contract was terminated.
The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in August alleging that around 100 workers in New York City had lost their jobs without notice after joining the union.
The workers joined the union around June to advocate for higher pay–they were earning $10 per hour, which the union says was well below the $17.99-$23.98 prevailing wages for unionized cleaners in New York City. After the workers announced their intentions to unionize, Commercial Building Maintenance Corp. (CBM), which was the company WeWork used to contract the cleaners, terminated their contracts on Aug. 21.
Under the new agreement, WeWork will look for a new cleaning contractor and ask them to give preference to the workers who lost their jobs. Rehired cleaners will be paid the prevailing wage for unionized employees.
“This arrangement provides a sensible path forward that allows us to focus on our top priority: providing the best possible experience for our members in a way that allows their passion and innovative spirit to flourish,” said WeWork President and COO, Artie Minson, in a statement.
The company has also set aside a pool of $250,000 which will be used to compensate workers as the union sees fit. Hector Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU, said the money will be offered to workers to cover lost wages since August, with the amount for each worker depending on what their schedule was like before they lost their jobs.
The union said the agreement is the first time they've negotiated union contracts with a co-working space provider like WeWork. "We're hoping this sets a path to good jobs being associated with the so-called share economy," said Figueroa. He said it's an opportunity for companies to recognize that service workers are also part of the "share economy."