Contact:
Kevin O'Donnell; kevin.odonnell@seiu.org; 312-401-7598, ,

Issued June 25, 2015

Statement by Executive Vice President Valarie Long Regarding Sexual Abuse of Immigrant Women in the Janitorial Industry

Today, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Executive Vice President Valarie Long issued the following statement regarding sexual abuse of immigrant women in the janitorial industry:

Sexual harassment and abuse are heinous offenses not to be tolerated anywhere, especially in the workplace. Workplace safety is among our highest priorities. That's why we have been unrelenting in our efforts to unite workers and give them a voice to fight back against atrocities, such as sexual harassment and abuse, without fear of retribution.

The strength of collective action to combat workplace injustices and indignities are reinforced in a union environment through a collective agreement.Workers in non-union workplaces do not have all of the necessary tools at their disposal to combat workplace injustice. They are often retaliated against forso-called whistle-blowingor for speaking out todemand dignity and respect.

Contractors such as ABM who enter into collective agreements must adhere to the highest standards of worker protections. When working with these types of signatory contractors, efforts to police the industry can bring sexual harassment into thelight of day and eliminate it once and for all. By working together, we have been able to raise standards and give thousands of janitors a voice on the job. Through collective agreements and through jointly-funded organizations such as the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund in Los Angeles, SEIU is committed to work with ABM and other janitorial contractors to eradicate sexual harassment and abuse across the industry."

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