Labor and Public Employees Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING A MINIMUM WORKWEEK FOR PERSONS PERFORMING JANITORIAL OR BUILDING MAINTENANCE SERVICES.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Labor and Public Employees Committee
REASONS FOR BILL:
This bill aims to institute a minimum 30 hour work week for persons performing janitorial or building maintenance services.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Representative Peter Tercyak submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that the bill would lift more workers closer to the middle class and allow for planning life around the job. Tercyak went on to explain that full time workers are eligible for benefits that part time workers often are not. Building maintenance workers include cleaners, porters, janitors, handypersons, and security guards.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Pastor AJ, Urban Refuge Church submitted testimony in support of the bill indicating that too many people are forced to get by on too little. There is too much poverty an inequality in CT the pastor explained this bill is a common sense solution to address the hardships faced by low income working families.
Matt Anderson, Member, 32 BJ SEIU a security officer at state buildings in Hartford submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that as a new father he and his wife have a new appreciation for how much every penny counts.
Alberto Bernandez, Executive Board Member, 32 BJ SEIU Mr. Bernandez is an Assistant Supervisor of the CT District of SEIU 32 BJ, which has over 4,500 members in the State of Connecticut. He submitted testimony in support of the bill noting that in addition to raising wages, we need to guarantee hours and access to full time work for building services workers in our state. Low wages and erratic work schedules have a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of families, this legislation is a step in the right direction.
Martha Duque, Cleaner at New Britain Courthouse, Member of 32BJ SEIU submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that everyone should have the ability to make ends meet and have enough hours to pay the bills. This bill would not only help workers, it would stabilize the workforce that is transient, moving from part time job to part time job.
Lindsay Farrell, Connecticut State Director, Working Families Party submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that service workers deserve security and financial stability.
Tsedeye Gebreselassie, Senior Staff Attorney, National Employment Law Project submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that involuntary part time employment is a solvable problem in CT. CT has taken the lead in adopting innovative policies to meet the realities of its resident and adoption of the Better Jobs Act would continue this forward momentum. Gebreselassie further noted- part time workers with limited income and no access to employer-provided healthcare end up having to rely on the state to meet basic needs for themselves and their families. Passage of this bill would allow these workers to support themselves and their families in a sustainable way.
Samantha Gorley, Legal Intern, CT Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that on average women in CT are paid 83 cents for every dollar paid to men. African American women are paid 58 cents to the dollar while Latinas make 53 cents. Today 15.2 million households are headed by women, these women also make up the majority of low wage workers who have unpredictability in their scheduling. The scheduling standards established by this bill ensure that workers receive the stability they need to manage basic expenses, arrange for child care and pursue job training or further their education.
Lori Pelletier, President, Connecticut AFL-CIO submitted testimony in support of the bill noting that shorting workers on their hours hurts both employers and employees and leads to high turnover rates and recruitment costs for employers. Workers who cannot access full time hours are not able to participate in employer provided benefits that help them provide for their families and as a result they are forced to seek state services like husky, creating an additional burden for all tax payers.
Cherie Quickmire, Executive Director, Common Cause in Connecticut submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that the bill is an important proposal to ensure that part time workers with limited income have the opportunity for full time work. Workers in these situations are more likely to rely on state aid and ultimately become a burden for all taxpayers.
Renae Reese, Executive Director, Connecticut Center For A New Economy submitted testimony in support of the bill explain that a janitor earning CT standard wage would need to work 108 hours a week to take care of a family of 4, passage of this legislation would help to stabilize both families and communities.
Tom Swan, Executive Director, Connecticut Citizen Action Group submitted testimony in support of the bill claiming that addressing these scheduling issues is pro-family and only fair.
Stacey Zimmerman, SEIU CT State Council submitted testimony in support of the bill explaining that Connecticut has extreme income inequality- second in the country. 30% of workers in CT earn less than $15 hourly, these workers are disproportionately female, black and Latino and nearly 1/3 of them have families they are trying to support.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Daniel Giungi, Senior Legislative Associate, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities(CCM) submitted testimony in opposition of this bill indicating that while the bill is well intentioned it would be fiscally burdensome for municipalities that employ students or other seasonal individual employees in part time roles.
Eric Gjede, Counsel, Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) submitted testimony in opposition of this bill indicating that CBIA encourages the committee to pursue policies that will help lower the cost of doing business in the state. When a business has a healthier bottom line they can afford to hire more employees and provide their current employees with more hours, wages and benefits.
Thomas Wilkinson, President/Owner, Advantage Maintenance, Inc. opposes this bill as he states that it is an intrusion into the employer-employee relationship, potentially forcing businesses to pay for services they may not need or are unable to afford. Moreover, businesses may respond to this mandate by terminating janitorial staff in order to ensure some of the janitors meet the requirements of this law. Many of my employees (75%) rely on these part time janitorial jobs to supplement their income.
Michael Diamond, Owner, Affineco LLC and Vice President, The BSCAI Mr. Diamond is owner of a commercial cleaning firm in Bridgeport CT. He is also Vice President of the Building Service Contractors Association International and submitted testimony on behalf of his firm and the BSCAI in opposition to this bill indicating that it would very costly and a disruptive process to convert part time employees to full time to meet the thirty-hour work week requirement. He added that most of their employees hold other full time jobs and this would cause hardship for half of them to be displaced, or cause them to take a second job of 30 hours per week or more. That would be too demanding on an individual. Health care benefits would have to be offered and that would be at a cost for this passed thru to the real estate community and in turn to the tenants of Connecticut.
Reported by: Virginia Monteiro