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Union Janitor Suspended @ Lewis & Clark College

A union janitor at Lewis & Clark College has been harassed, suspended w/o pay for 3 days, and is being threatened w/ termination as a result of his support for the union. Community support needed!
Union Janitor Suspended at Lewis & Clark College!
June 26th, 2001

There has been a significant development since my last report about retaliation against pro-union janitors by Skyline Corporation managers at Lewis&Clark campus.

Shortly after our meeting with Skyline management on May 17th, many concessions were granted to the janitors as a result of pressure put on Skyline by L&C students, faculty, and concerned members of the community. Janitors were not harassed for a period of several weeks, and were granted minimal pay raises! However, management threatened to scrutinize the union janitors' every move hoping to find faults. Our actions clearly factor into the corporate calculus and have beneficial effects for the janitors (who were very grateful)!

After that meeting, Skyline made it clear that they did not want involvement from the college student body: they called SEIU organizer Maria Damaris' supervisor to complain about her having invited students to the meeting, among other things.

Now, one of the janitors present at that meeting, Alberto, has been suspended, pending dismissal, because one public restroom on campus was apparently lacking toilet paper one night. This allegation was made against Alberto by a new janitor hostile to the union. Alberto denies having forgotten to stock the toilet paper.

I, for one, cannot imagine being suspended for something as trivial as this. No other person has been suspended in the past year --- it is clearly more than coincidence that this happen to Alberto, because of his support for the union.

Three days of lost wages mean a lot to Alberto and the family that depends on him in Central America. At Reed College, at least, a lot of TP used to disappear to students' homes, but under the circumstances, it is not inconceivable that Skyline fabricated this event.

Everyone is urged to take action:
(1) Call Skyline and let them know our community won't tolerate anti-union harassment!
(2) For those feeling a little more creative, why not send Skyline a letter written on (unused) toilet paper, or just enclosed some in the envelope, since they seem to be having a shortage at L&C!
(3) Let's meet to discuss ideas: Sunday, July 1st at 6pm, at the Red&Black Cafe (22nd & SE Division). Another meeting with Skyline managers would be beneficial, but we need to make this a powerful show of community involvement.

Skyline / MSC 76
0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd
Portland, OR 97219

L&C directory (phone/eMail):
Comments Webpage:

Maria Damaris, SEIU 49
(503) 236-4949

la lucha sigue!
Andrew Bacelis


Thurs., May 17th
Lewis & Clark Sports Center

Skyline managers Victor, Roger, and Don met with SEIU organizer Maria Damaris and two janitors last night. Two L&C students, Lindsey and Mary, and I were also in attendance. The meeting was called in response to attempts by management to punish two janitors involved with union organizing through overwork and increased scrutiny of their performance. One of their supervisors, Elitania, was also accused of favoritism toward her relatives versus other employees, as well as promoting anti-union sentiment among the work crew.

It was agreed that the janitors' poor performance reviews would be cancelled if their work met the expectations of their bosses for 90 days, though management is unfortunately still committed to scrutinizing these two janitors more closely than others (on a psychological basis alone, this will lead to a bias to overreport).

Clearly this is not a pleasant work atmosphere for the janitors, but the greater community, especially L&C students, need to remain vigilant to prevent management from attempting to punish workers simply for exercising their right to join a union. Anyone wishing to get involved should contact Damaris at 236-4949 or  mariadamaris@hotmail.com

Andrew Bacelis

phone: phone: 725-2965