CONDO WORKERS AND SUPPORTERS FIGHTING TO UNIONIZE PROTEST IN MIAMI - Mitch Perry

12/16/04

At this hour in Miami, condominium workers who are trying to form a union are holding a Candlelight Vigil and march, bringing attention to their attempts to organize without intimidation.

Workers claim that the Continental Group – one of Miami’s most prestigious condominium management companies – is refusing to pledge NOT to intimidate and threaten workers who want to speak out.

Last week, the City of Miami Beach Commission passed a resolution supporting workers' right to organize without retaliation.

Hiram Ruiz, is the Deputy Director of the Service Employees International Union, Local 11, which is helping to organize a portion of the nearly 8,000 condo workers in the Miami area.

Ruiz says the SEIU has only recently began their campaign to organize, and has been in contact with perhaps a few hundred of those 8,000 workers.

WMNF asked him what were the strongest reasons that the condo workers need to be organized? (roll tape#1 o.q.� concerned about�)

In their press release announcing their protest in Miami Thursday evening, union organizers charge that a prestigious employer - the Continental Group has refused to pledge NOT to intimidate and/or threaten workers who want to speak out….And they claim Continental is being investigated by the National Labor Relations Board.

Again, the SEIU’s Hiram Ruiz (roll tape#2 o.q.� in the community�)

Richard Struenan is President of the Continental Group. He strongly denied the SEIU’s allegations that his company intimidates workers into NOT joining a union..And he says there was no reason for Continental to pledge NOT to threaten workers, when he contends they aren’t doing that now(roll tape#3 o.q.� pretty much the way it is�)

Struman says that the Continental Group pays above industry wages and gives good benefits., including the opportunity to get into 401 K plans, as well as paid holidays, sick days and vacations.

He did acknowledge that the NLRB IS looking into the SEIU claim that a Miami condo worker was fired because of his involvement in union organizing (roll tape#4 o.q.�union interest or activity�)

And again, tonight (Thursday evening ), dozens of Miami condo workers, clergy, and community leaders are scheduled to hold what they are calling a Candlelight Vigil for Justice to send the message that the time to organize for South Florida condo workers is now.

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