Janitors Seek Rare Injunction Against Nation’s Second Largest Mall Owner To Stop Rights Abuses

Alleged Unfair Labor Practices by General Growth Properties and its Contractors Deepen, Spread to Florida and Maryland

DENVER–LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Janitors in California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, and Washington are seeking an extraordinary remedy against General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP) and two of its cleaning contractors as the companies face new charges that they illegally coerced workers in order to dissuade them from forming a union. The so-called 10(j) injunction is a special procedure that lets the National Labor Relations Board obtain an order from a federal court to protect workers’ civil rights in serious and egregious situations. If implemented, the remedy would restrain GGP, The Millard Group and Service Management Systems from interfering in workers’ freedom to choose a union-or face contempt of court.

According to 10 new “Unfair Labor Practice” charges being filed today, the companies illegally sought to prevent workers from choosing a union by threatening to call police on, threatening to fire, or firing union supporters. A charge from Washington, for example, alleges that a janitor was fired after telling of poor working conditions on a leaflet.

Workers also allege that GGP tried to undermine support for their union by promising improved salaries and benefits. In an August 6 national news release, General Growth Properties announced that janitors in its 194 regional malls will receive wage hikes and access to affordable health insurance.

“I’ve worked at the mall for 5 and half years and all I ever got was a 25-cent raise. Then we started forming a union so now they’re trying to buy us off. But the workload has increased and they want to change our shifts. We should be free to choose a union, without all the interference,” says Colorado janitor María Trejo, who works at GGP’s Park Meadows Mall in suburban Denver.

During the past few months, workers at more than 20 GGP malls nationwide have joined with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to win living wages, affordable health care, and a voice on the job.

The charges being filed today allege violations at Glendale Galleria (Glendale, California), Park Meadows Mall (Lone Tree, Colorado), Towson Center Mall (Towson, Maryland) Alderwood Mall (Lynnwood, Washington) and Bayside Mall (Miami, Florida). The NLRB has decided to coordinate these and 9 previous charges relating to GGP through its Denver regional office.

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