Anheuser-Busch Cleaners Out of Jobs

Nov 03, 2009, 15:20 ET from SEIU Local 32BJ

Company Looks the Other Way as Long-Standing Workers Are Replaced

NEWARK, N.J., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite years of dedicated service at Anheuser-Busch's Newark brewery, the long-standing brewery cleaners found themselves without a job yesterday. The company's new cleaning contractors have refused to accept job applications from these men and women.


"Doesn't Anheuser-Busch get that we need to feed our families?" asked Luci Peralta, a cleaner who has worked at the brewery for six years. "With no income, I don't know how I'll put food on the table and make our house payments."

Although Anheuser-Busch's reported revenues were more than $23.5 million in 2008, the company has contracted with what seem to be low-end cleaning companies. Workers have been told the companies, US Metro and NJ-based Dawn Brite, will keep costs down by paying close to minimum wage and providing few, if any, benefits.

"We cannot watch multi-national corporations like Anheuser-Busch replace good Newark jobs with dead-end, low-wage jobs that force our families into poverty," said Kevin Brown, 32BJ New Jersey Director. "If Anheuser-Busch was truly committed to local communities and working people, the company would not stand by while the hard-working cleaners struggle to support their families."

The workers' union, 32BJ SEIU, has contacted Anheuser-Busch about the job loss, but the company has refused to intervene on the workers' behalf.

The brewery cleaners were earning $13.30 an hour and receiving employer-paid family health care - the same rate as most other area cleaners. Under a contract with 32BJ SEIU, many real estate owners and cleaning companies in New Jersey have agreed to standard wages and benefits for thousands of commercial cleaners in the state.

With more than 100,000 members in seven states and Washington, DC, including 8,000 in New Jersey, 32BJ is the largest property services union in the country.