Service Employees' International Union Local 32-BJ, which claims 100,000+ members around the Northeast, has begun sending a flier titled "Wilmington Trust Exposed" to bank investors. It's designed to embarrass the bank by calling attention to its recent operating loss, dividend cut, and dependence on federal dollars.
Why? Local 32-BJ is trying to organize a group of 40 janitors who labor at the company's Wilmington, Del. headquarters as the local expands into Delaware, union organizer Eugenio Villasante told me. The union filed unfair-labor practice charges against Optima Cleaning Systems, the Wilmington company that directly employs the janitors, in March and May, according to National Labor Relations Board records, accusing Optima officials of illegally opposing the union campaign by firing pro-union workers and other retaliation. Optima officials didn't return calls seeking commment.
"Most people would agree that a bank that has received $330 million from the federal bailout plan should not employ contractors that pay its cleaners at Wilmington Trust Building $7.25 an hour, with few or zero benefits," Villasante told me.