Where's Justice? Jason Pizer, TRINITY President, It's Time To Take Control
They know that from your head office, which is only a few blocks from Zuccotti Park, you can hear the cries of protestors who have come from allover the United States. They hope you'll also hear their earnest plea.
[Letter From The Publisher]
To: Jason Pizer, President
Trinity Real Estate
Dear Mr. Pizer,
As you are aware, I wrote you an open letter about work-related grievances of three employees at Trinity-owned properties managed by Alliance, also known as FQM. It was published September 29, 2011, in The Black Star News as well as online.
I am happy to hear that two senior Alliance executives visited with two of the employees, Melvin Munoz and Antonio Lanzarotta. They did not meet with Prince Valcarcel; he has been locked out of his work place for over two years now through a questionable "reduction in force" letter (RIF).
Valcarcel, an immigrant from Sierra Leone, West Africa, has strong support among fellow unionized workers. He was the one who pressed the union to upgrade the pay rate of employees' who had engineers' licenses and had been wrongfully and
intentionally underpaid by Alliance. Munoz, one such worker still awaits $100,000 in back payment. Alliance signed a settlement to pay Munoz but has ignored the agreement. I can supply you with a copy.
The Alliance executives who met with Munoz and Lanzarotta on October 3, 2011 were Michael Rodriguez, president of Alliance Building (FQM) and Robert Abreu, Executive Vice President. In the meeting, I'm informed that Mr. Rodriguez, rather than offering solutions, instead told Lanzarotta that Valcarcel had been properly laid off from the 100 Avenue of the Americas building through a reduction in force letter. There were vague offers at the meeting, with nothing in writing.
In the meeting, Lanzarotta asked Rodriguez why he had never responded to the email messages he sent, describing the deteriorating work conditions at the Trinity property where he works. Rodriguez said he had not received any of the email messages even though Lanzarotta maintains none had ever bounced back. Lanzarotta described to Rodriguez how he had been wrongfully dismissed in the past --he returned after four days-- and has since faced retaliation at the work place.
Other continued violations, include the hiring of new employees without the posting of the position as required by existing agreements.
Rodriguez said there would be no more retaliation but again did not put anything in writing. Rodriguez also claimed he was the one who sent the RIF letter that led to Valcarcel's removal. This is at odds with what was previously told to this
newspaper and what was told to Lanzarotta, Munoz and Valcarcel, when the three met with 32BJ union officials--Hector Figueroa, 32BJ Secretary-Treasurer, and union officials Shirley Aldebol and Eyad Asad-- on August 12.
It seems that no one wants to take responsibility for Valcarcel's being wrongfully locked out. Was there in fact ever an authentic one-man reduction in force letter? Was that merely a ruse to eject Valcarcel, a stellar employee by all accounts, who had reported to FQM management that there were illegal bets on games being placed by some workers and managers
at the properties?
In any event, if indeed on June 22, 2009, a one-man reduction in force was requested by Trinity, thereby causing the layoff of Valcarcel, why wasn't he recalled to his post at One Hudson, the building where he worked prior to going to 100 Avenue of Americas? After all, the engineer at that building was dismissed about two months after the reported RIF that is said to have affected Valcarcel.
These are some of the issues that make it appear that Valcarcel was let go because someone felt threatened by his expose over the allaged betting. Also why did Vinny Petta, who was then Director of Engineering, accompanied by two security guards, order Valcarcel to empty his locker and leave, without a letter of termination, without the standard one week notice, and without even providing him with a copy of the purported RIF?
This is also why Valcarcel believes he's simply been unlawfully locked out.
Lanzarotta, Munoz and Valcarcel, believe that you personally don't condone the kind of actions against workers that I've summarized in my two letters to you: the wrongful lockout of Prince Varcarcel; the withholding of more than $100,000 due to Melvin Munoz, by the management company, FQM, who operates your properties, and; the continued retaliation against Antonio Lanzarotta, who has already spent nearly $50,000 in attorneys' fees to try and protect himself and his family--they depend on his income.
Would this not be the ideal time for you, Mr. Pizer to do the right thing and show that you're a champion of the workers who keep the wheels of the American economy spinning even during these challenging times?
Why the run-around by Alliance, managers of your properties? At a time when Americans have descended on New York City from allover the country, to protest corporate greed and corruption, why can't there be a meeting of the mind, between the aggrieved employees, who work at Trinity's Properties and management, under your direction?
Indeed, Rev. Emily Bloemker, program manager Trinity, also recently reportedly showed up at the Occupy Wall Street rally, to show solidarity with workers who continue to fight for justice. As you know Mr. Pizer, charity must begin at home.
Lanzarotta, Munoz and Valcarcel want you to know that they love their work and take it seriously; they say they work to take care of the building, its equipment, and to ensure that the Trinity tenants are safe. They say their work is however undermined by a work environment that includes retaliation, discrimination, and favoritism.
The three employees --and 15 others, whose cases we are still reviewing-- say they have the utmost respect for you and that they hope Trinity observes its own mandate not to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnic or national origin.
They want me to inform you that since the union's executives and the executives at Alliance (FQM) don't take them seriously, that they would be eager to meet directly with you so that you get first hand information about the matter and help resolve their grievances.
They know that from your head office, which is only a few blocks from Zuccotti Park, you can hear the cries of protestors who have come from allover the United States.
They hope you'll also hear their earnest plea.
At your service,
Milton Allimadi, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
32 Broadway, Suite 511
New York, N.Y., 10032