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 Policy Order Resolution
  O-43
  IN CITY COUNCIL
  April 24, 2006
COUNCILLOR DECKER

WHEREAS:

The City of Cambridge is committed the right of all workers to dignity in their lives, safe conditions at work, and a living wage, and supports responsible employers who follow the law and treat their workers fairly; and

  
WHEREAS: National attention has been increasing on the 17-day hunger strike and ongoing solidarity fast by University of Miami workers, students and faculty at the University of Miami, as part of an eight-month struggle for the right of janitors employed by cleaning contractor UNICCO to form a union; and
    
WHEREAS:

Harvard University, the largest employer in Cambridge, contracts with UNICCO for cleaning services, and UNICCO has not yet signed its collective bargaining agreement with Harvard University janitors; and

  
WHEREAS:

Harvard University has demonstrated leadership over the years in working together with students, workers, and labor groups to ensure its employees have a living wage, affordable health insurance, and the right to form a union for a voice at work; and

     
WHEREAS: Harvard University, through its investment in Regiment Capital, has a financial stake in UNICCO and therefore has the power to affect UNICCO’s decision making; and
  
WHEREAS: Companies contracting with UNICCO in Cambridge include Wyeth, Lesley College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Forest City Management, New England Development, Equity Office Properties, RREEF, Capital Properties, AT&T, iBus Company, and W.R. & Grace; and
     
WHEREAS: The Cambridge City Council is concerned with numerous health and safety violations, as well as prevailing wage issues, by UNICCO in Cambridge and Boston; and
WHEREAS:

Two UNICCO employees were killed while performing window cleaning operations in Boston in May 2003, and an OSHA investigation found the UNICCO in violation of several standards, including a faulty fall arrest program; and

WHEREAS: After UNICCO agreed to abate the violations and correct workplace hazards, the company was cited again – for willful violations – when one window washer lost his life and another was seriously injured in June 2005 after falling from a four-story Burlington office building.  OSHA cited some of the same hazards found in the fatal 2003 incident; and
WHEREAS: Numerous incidents have occurred in the past several months that have concerned UNICCO workers at the University of Miami regarding health and safety matters at the facilities where they work, including worker illnesses related to chemical exposure, inadequate training in health and safety issues, inadequate protective measures in health and safety matters, and several problems related to the protection of workers from potentially infectious blood borne hazards; and
    

WHEREAS:

University of Miami President Donna Shalala has a record of commitment to the health and well-being of workers around the country as the former Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton; and
    
WHEREAS:

The manner in which President Donna Shalala resolves the University of Miami’s problems with UNICCO affects the ability of UNICCO to negotiate with its employees, and therefore has an impact on the quality of life of workers in Cambridge and Boston who are employed by UNICCO; and

   
WHEREAS: UNICCO pays its cleaners in Miami 40 percent less than cleaners in Boston, even though the cost of living there is only 9% less; and
WHEREAS:

The Cambridge City Council appreciates that at the last hour University of Miami President Donna Shalala increased janitors’ wages; and

WHEREAS: UNICCO employees, many of whom are immigrants, are among the nation’s lowest-paid workers – and as more attention is focused on the exploitation of immigrant workers, the right of UNICCO janitors at the University of Miami to form their union is a matter of national significance; now therefore be it

 

     
RESOLVED:

That this City Council goes on record in support of the students and workers at the University of Miami who have been harassed and intimidated by the University administration and UNICCO; and be it further

  
RESOLVED:

That this City Council go on record urging Harvard University, and all other Cambridge employers who contract with UNICCO, to take seriously what is happening to workers under UNICCO’s supervision, to take an active role in ensuring that workers in Cambridge are not being treated in a manner consistent with UNICCO’s record, and to reexamine their involvement with a contractor that has been documented for numerous health and safety violations; and be it further

 
RESOLVED: That this City Council go on record urging President Shalala to use her leadership to support the right of workers by addressing UNICCO’s harassment, health and safety violations, civil rights abuses, and illegal interference with University of Miami janitors’ efforts to win a voice at work; and be it further
    
RESOLVED:

That this City Council go on record urging the Harvard University Presidential Search Committee, when choosing the next leader of Harvard University, to consider candidates’ record of support for living wages, workplace health and safety, and workers’ right to organize; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution to the University of Miami President Donna Shalala, UNICCO, Harvard University, Harvard University Presidential Search Committee, Service Employees International Union Local 11, Wyeth, Lesley College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Forest City Management, New England Development, Equity Office Properties, RREEF, Capital Properties, AT&T, iBus Company, and W.R. & Grace on behalf of the entire City Council.
  

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