Anti-union company wins preliminary janitorial contract bid at Lambert Airport over objections of SEIU Local 1

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A COMPANY WITH A HISTORY of racial discrimination and anti-unionism was awarded a preliminary contract last week to provide janitorial services at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Company faced EEOC finding for racial discrimination, fired another employee for union organizing

The St. Louis Lambert Airport Commission recently voted to award a $13.5 million contract to anti-union, anti-worker Atalian Global Services and its local affiliate Centaur Building Services.

Centaur has a history of racial discrimination and union-busting.

In 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found “reasonable cause to believe” Centaur violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act for firing an African-American woman in 2013 due to her race. Just this year, Centaur settled an NLRB case for $7,000 after a Centaur janitor at Express Scripts alleged he was fired for union organizing.

The Atalian contract, set to begin July 1, still needs approval by the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

After the vote, Service Employees International Union Local 1, which represents janitors at the airport, issued a statement urging the estimate board to reject the contract.

‘WORKERS DESERVE A VOICE’

“This is not the kind of company that belongs at Lambert,” Local 1 spokesman Nick Desideri said. “The workers at our airport deserve a voice on the job, and taxpayer money should not be going to a company with this kind of record.”

Local 1 contacted the airport’s director in March to detail the two past cases involving Centaur. Airport officials responded that they had spoken with Christophe Jeusse, CEO of Atalian’s North American operations, and Centaur President Janine Joubert-Dulay, and received their assurances before awarding the bid.

‘REFUSED TO LISTEN TO OUR CONCERNS’

“It’s disappointing the St. Louis Lambert Airport Commission refused to listen to our concerns about awarding a major cleaning contract to a contractor that faced a serious EEOC finding for racial discrimination,” Lambert Airport janitor Chloe Collins said.

“A large majority of janitors at St. Louis Lambert are workers of color. Awarding $13.5 million in taxpayer money to a company with a history of racial discrimination disrespects all of us who keep the airport running and is an insult to working families across St. Louis.

“The SEIU Local 1 janitors of St. Louis Lambert urge the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment to reject this contract,” Collins said. “The board must send a message: There is no place for discrimination at our airport.”

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