STAMFORD, CT-The ownership of the Metro Center office building in downtown Stamford has released a statement in response to what it terms “false allegations” made by the striking janitorial union Service Employees International (SEIU) Local 531. Last week, W&M Executive Vice President Jeffrey Newman also complained in an exclusive interview with about what he termed were false statements made by some union officials.

W&M Properties states that SEIU’s Local 531 does not represent Metro Center’s housekeeping staff and that, “No threats have been made and no housekeeping staff members have been fired for talking to a union organizer, as has been alleged.” The statement continues, “The workers who walked off the job at the urging of the SEIU had to be replaced, since we have an obligation to our tenants to clean the building. Our new employees, as well as those who remained, are satisfied with their pay and benefits, which we understand are as good or better than what the union has achieved through contracts with individual building owners.”

Metro Center’s full-time housekeeping staff members are paid between $9.50 and $11 an hour, with full benefits, the company stated. The firm notes it pays part-time workers between $8.50 and $9.00 an hour, not the minimum wage of $6.15 an hour, as has been alleged by union officials, W&M charges. “We are committed to compensating all of our employees fairly for the work they do, and object to the deliberate and knowing misrepresentation of the facts by the SEIU, W&M officials say.

Union officials told that they believe W&M was paying part-time janitorial staff minimum wage until the workers walked off the job earlier this month. Seven striking janitors in Fairfield County began a hunger strike on Oct. 25. In fact, the hunger strikers have pitched a tent outside the Metro Center Building in Stamford. Two of the hunger strikers were former W&M employees, according to the union. However, they were not members of Local 531 until after they walked off their jobs.

Fairfield County janitors began their county-wide strike on October 2. Negotiations are scheduled for Monday, Oct. 30 and union officials have warned that if no progress is made, the strike that now affects approximately 25 office buildings in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport, “will escalate in a big way.”

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