By TIM ROWDEN
SEIU Local 1, which represents janitors at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, is calling on the St. Louis Board of Estimate and Apportionment to reject a $13.5 million cleaning contract awarded by the Airport Commission with anti-union, anti-worker Atalian Global Services and its local affiliate Centaur Building Services.
The contract, set to begin July 1, still needs the approval of the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment before it can be enacted.
St. Louis Lambert janitors showed up at the board’s recent meeting to express their concerns, prompting the board to postpone a vote on the contract until it meets again on June 20.
“We will continue to show up until the board makes the right decision for working families – rejecting this contract,” said Lasean Smith, a Local 1 janitor at Lambert..
HISTORY OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, UNION BUSTING
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. Earlier this year, Centaur settled an NLRB case for $7,000 after a Centaur janitor at Express Scripts alleged he was fired for union organizing.
Local 1 shared its concerns about the contract and Centaur’s history with the St. Louis Lambert Airport Commission in March, but the commission still awarded the bid to the company saying 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.
“An irresponsible contractor with a troubling record on racial discrimination has no place at a world-class airport like St. Louis Lambert International Airport,” Smith said. “St. Louis Lambert janitors will continue to fight to ensure our airport is an economic engine for our entire city and a place where working people feel valued and respected.”