On the Picket Line

Building workers in New Jersey strike three days for contract

By Jennie Kranepool
February 18, 2019

FORT LEE, N.J. — Chanting “What do we want? Contracts” and “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” some 200 workers at Horizon House Buildings and their supporters rallied here Jan. 29 in a fight for a new contract. Some residents showed their support by raising fists and honking horns.  The day before 76 door attendants, porters, mechanics and valets, members of 32BJ Service Employees International Union, began a three-day strike. They picketed all six of the buildings, which house over 2,000 people. The workers have been without a contract since last May.  

“Management told us they needed to save $900,000. We came back with a proposal to change to a different health plan that would save them $1 million,” porter Christian Pimentel, told the Militant. Pimentel has worked at the company for 16 years and is on the union negotiating committee. “But then they moved the goal posts. They demanded to take away our pension. It became clear they want to get rid of us and the union.”  

Jason Bavolar and George Castaneda said that the board wants to replace them with minimum wage, nonunion workers from a contractor that has already been lined up. Workers returned to work, Jan. 31. Negotiations will continue.