Jan 30,1996;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (\851 - 2006)
pg. A9
An open letter from Gus Bevona,
President of Local 32B-32J
Dear New Yorker:
The men and women who clean and maintain office and loft buildings in New York City need your help.
They've been on since January 4, 1996, forced out by extremely wealthy real estate barons who sim­
ply don't care about their employees and their families - or even their tenants.
Many of the strikers are immigrants. Many are black or Latino. Many are women. Through blizzard conditions,
freezing cold and driving rain, they have kept a vigil in front of more than 1,300 buildings. They are fighting for
their families and they need a hand.
They are strong. They arJ: determined. But they aren't getting paid. Bills a"e coming due. The unioR <Jan pro­
vide only $50.00 a week. That means for 35,000 strikers, the union's expense for strike benefits alone is $1.75
million weekly, enough to strain even the strongest treasury. Donations to the Local 32B-32J Strike Fund will
be gratefully accepted and 100% of any money raised wiII be given to strikers on the picket lines.
Picketing hasn't been easy. Apparently acting on orders from One Police Plaza or City Hall, some police brass
are interfering with the strikers' lawful right to picket peacefully by restricting them to areas convenient for the
building owners.
Meanwhile, the very same landlords who call the strikers "valued employees" are trying to rob them of
their health benefits. The building owners have never stooped so low before, not even in major strikes. The
union, naturally, is protecting its members and their families against the landlords' mean-spirited attack.
Given their shameful mistreatment of their employees and the tenants who have been deprived of ser­
vices, it's surprising that some of the landlords still think of themselves as great humanitarians. They aren't.
Some of them do give substantial amounts to sharity - for which they take substantial income tax deductions ­
but they've forgotten charity begins at home. And they've forgotten their obligations to their employees and their
The ..andlords claim times are bad. But all our research indicates that's not true. Times are never really
bad for these multi-millionaire real estate magnates. In fact, times are much better now than three years ago
when we last secured the contract - without a strike. We cooperated with the landlords then and the resulting
p:>ntract balanced gains for the members with productivity improvements for the landlords. But tbe landlords'
" greed is insatiable. .
We are still willing to make concessions for financially troubled buildings. We simply ask for proof that
the buildings are in the red. The landlords have produced nothing except a sophisticated scheme to replace reli­
able, trusted workers in every building with strangers paid substantially less. And these strangers will have the key
to your office. If new workers can be paid mucb less than current ones, current members will be quickly
cast aside. Some will be fired on trumped-up charges, while witch hunts and harassment force others out of their
jobs. The landlords say it will never happen, but we weren't born yesterday. If they had any loyalty to their
employees, the strike wouldn't have been necessary.
1 deeply regret the necessity of calling this strike. It imposes a tremendous hardship on the members and on
the tenants, but the negotiations were doomed from the start by the landlords' coldhearted position - a position
from which they moyed an inch.
The strike wllI continue until we win. If the landlords stopped to think about theSUffering they're
inflicting, it would already be over. Your help can bring justice a little sooner.
Thank you,

Gus Bevona
Here's How To Help
[j I support Local 32B-32J's strikers
I. The strikers are facing severe financial hardship. Please send contributions
C Enclosed is my contribution in the
to the Local 32B-32J Strike Fund, 101 Avenue of the Americas, New
amount of $ __
York, New York, 10013-1906.
2. Urge your landlord to settle the strike now.
3. If you are a union member, urge your union to help. Most are already
Address _
4. Commercial building tenants should examine their If you are pay­
City Stale Zip _
ing for services you are not receiving, you may be entitled to compensa­
tion from your' landlord. Your attorney can help with this. .
Please return to: Local 32B·32J Strike Fund
5. Demand compensation from your landlord for then and damage 101 Avenue of the Americas
cllused by strikebreakers. .
New York, NY 10013-1906
6. When you see strikers on the picket line, wish them well. It means, lot.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

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