Union protests janitorial firm change at downtown office building

Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are protesting a decision by Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners to switch janitorial firms at the 875 E. Wisconsin Ave. office building in downtown Milwaukee.

Wangard recently replaced New Berlin-based Regency Janitorial Services, a unionized janitorial firm, with a non-unionized firm.

The union janitors at the building were paid $11 an hour with a "modest health insurance package," according to SEIU.

“For the past 20 years janitors fought hard to make a measly $11 an hour, and now Wangard wants to take us back to where we were,” said Pete Hanrahan, vice president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1. “Wangard is picking janitors’ pockets to line his wallet.”

"We respect the role of labor unions, and we regularly use union contractors on many of the projects in which we are involved,” said Daniel Crow of Wangard Partners, the manager of the 875 E. Wisconsin Ave. building. “However, in this case, based on a review of the building regarding maintenance, we decided to seek competitive bids from both union and non-union firms for the work. Several companies responded, and we selected an organization that will help raise the quality of the maintenance work at the building. The decision on the company selected was based on merit and the ability to meet the high standards and sustainability practices we set for the care and attention we provide to our tenants."

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