TRINITY Church Do The Right Thing For Employees

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Since my newspaper publicized the ordeals of messes Lanzarotta, Munoz, and Valcarcel, other union members including Janitors within the Trinity portfolio have come forward with various cases alleging other transgressions by FQM management at Trinity-owned properties.

[Open Letter To Jason Pizer]

Jason Pizer, President
Trinity Real Estate

Dear Mr. Pizer,

My attempts to reach you through company spokesperson while working on articles were not successful.

As you may be aware several employees of Trinity Church-owned properties managed by First Quality Maintenance (FQM) have faced retaliation by management, including dismissals, after they reported work-related violations.

One employee, Prince Valcarcel, has been improperly barred from his work for two years now. It remains undetermined whether he was dismissed, suspended or is simply being wrongfully prevented from entering his work establishment. He has also not been paid for two years. His main offense was having exposed widespread illegal betting on games by some FQM employees involving management and that was causing friction among the workers at Trinity-owned properties.

Another employee, Melvin Munoz, was underpaid for two years even though he had an engineer's certification.

There was an agreement for his back pay between Munoz, local 32BJ and FQM; Munoz has been waiting for this back pay since January 2009. Antonio Lanzarotta, who also reported retaliation and was successful in getting the National Labor Review Board (NLRB) to issue a ruling barring FQM from retaliating against any of its employees, remains a target of continued retaliation.

The violations that these employees are concerned about include favoritism--whereby some employees are permitted to commit egregious offences that go unpunished while other workers are swiftly disciplined, including dismissals.

I have previously reached out to FQM and Trinity executives in the course of reporting these alleged transgressions. The executives have been either unresponsive or evasive. I feel it's important that these matters be brought directly to your attention as the senior executive presiding over Trinity's real estate portfolios in case lower management may have withheld information from you.

Here is a detailed summary of some of the complaints by three of the 15 FQM employees working at Trinity-owned properties who have thus far approached this newspaper:

Lanzarotta works as an engineer at 200 Hudson Street. He was fired when he complained about retaliation against employees. When 32BJ didn't help him, he hired a private lawyer. An agreement involving NLRB was signed, for FQM to repay him for lost four days, by March 15, 2011. He was not paid until May, after The Black Star News wrote an article and called the NLRB. He continues to face retaliation--on July 5th, 2011, when he returned to work a security guard had been directed in writing by the building manager, Christian Gonzalez to prevent him from entering the building, and lost another day of work; FQM later told him to consider it a "sick" day.

Lanzarotta fears that, as in the case of Valcarcel, he too will one day be barred from his workplace and left in limbo, not knowing whether he is "suspended," "dismissed," or just "barred" from entry. Ironically, in a recent meeting with two union officials, they admitted that they were aware of favoritism, discrimination, and retaliation within the FQM-managed Trinity portfolio.

Munoz works at 1 Hudson Square. His agreement with 32BJ, his union, and FQM signed on January 17, 2009 clearly states that "FQM shall pay Munoz any retroactive pay due to him as of January 1, 2009, within two weeks of this agreement.." as the copy of the agreement shows. Since he has an engineer's license and was underpaid for two years, Munoz calculates that he is owed at least $100,000. FQM, which manages Trinity's properties, has ignored the January 31, 2009 deadline and Munoz is seeking repayment, including interest.

Valcarcel worked at 100 Avenue of Americas. He was ordered to leave his work place on June 22, 2009, by his then supervisor, Vinny Petta, who claimed there was a "one-man reduction in force."

Valcarcel believes this was retaliation; he was the one who reported on the illegal bets and also the one who initiated grievance procedure with the union about the underpayment of workers' with engineers' licenses, and has been continuously demanding that FQM meet its obligation of the signed agreement, for back-pay. Valcarcel was never issued a RIF letter or termination letter and believes he is being wrongfully "barred" from his workplace. The collective bargaining agreement calls for arbitration in such cases. This has not occurred so in addition to bringing this matter to your attention, I have also reiterated the issue to local 32BJ --which has failed to address this issue as well-- and also inform NLRB officials. Valcarcel asks that he be allowed to return to his workplace and that he recover lost pay and benefits.

Since my newspaper publicized the ordeals of messes Lanzarotta, Munoz, and Valcarcel, other union members including Janitors within the Trinity portfolio have come forward with various cases alleging other transgressions by FQM management at Trinity-owned properties. Below are summaries of alleged favoritism recently reported to this newspaper:

[] Four years ago a Janitor at the 435 Hudson Street property was caught intoxicated and still drinking on the job. He was fired. He was allowed to attend rehab and then re-hired. He is now a foreman in the Trinity Portfolio.

[] Three years ago a Supervisor/Foreman was accused of sexual harassment at the 345 Hudson Street property by a co-worker; a cleaning lady. The employee was fired. After six months, he was reinstated and merely demoted. He is a janitorial porter within the Trinity Portfolio.

[] Two years ago a Supervisor/Foreman was arrested for DWI and jailed for one year. After serving time, his job was restored as Foreman at the 200 Hudson Street, Trinity property. He had to be transferred to the 10 Hudson Square property because other engineers and workers were angered by the alleged favoritism. This employee was reportedly placed at this job without the position ever being posted.

[] Most recently, some employees have been brought in to work overtime even though they were on vacation when there are other employees on the job that could have benefitted from the overtime pay.

In the above examples, you can obtain the names of the alleged beneficiaries of the acts of favoritism and more details from Local 32BJ, or from The Black Star News upon request.

Additionally, some employees at Trinity-owned properties have expressed concern that FQM now has a contract with a third-party company MAS, attached to Building Alliance, which is managed by Vinny Petta, the manager previously fired in 2010 by FQM/TRINITY. Petta's company is involved in retrofitting the lighting in Trinity's properties to LED.

These employees believe FQM is directing work to Petta as indirect compensation for having dismissed him in 2010 so he would not have to answer any questions about the wrongful actions by FQM against Valcarcel; the employees also wonder why FQM doesn't simply use the capable staff already working in the buildings for the retrofitting.

The MAS workers are not unionized and always make it a point to hide from employees of ATLAS, a unionized electrical company that's also doing work on Trinity-owned buildings. Unionized workers at the Trinity properties are concerned that certain individuals may have some vested motives for issuing this contract. They say existing staff could save Trinity a lot of money by doing the work.

I respectfully await your response to the serious issues I have raised.


Sincerely.

Milton Allimadi
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
milton@blackstarnews.com
32 Broadway, Suite 511
New York, NY, 10004


"Speaking Truth To Empower."



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