Census Bureau Workers Protest Cut Hours, Benefits

Raidizon Mercedes worked as a custodian for 14 years to help clean the U.S. Census Bureau building in Suitland, Maryland.

Mercedes, a Riverdale resident with three children, said his daily eight-hour shift was cut by half more than a month ago after Alutiiq Logistics and Maintenance Services (ALMS) took over as the contracting cleaning company for the bureau.

“I have a family to take care of. I have bills to pay,” he said outside the Census Bureau on Thursday. “What’s going on is not right.”

He joined at least two dozen colleagues and members of the Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to protest Alutiiq’s decision not to renew a contract guaranteeing workers full-time hours, health insurance, pension and other benefits.

Mercedes and his colleagues are deemed essential and have continued to work through the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020.

Jaime Contreras, vice president of 32BJ SEIU, said the contractor seeks to eliminate parts of the contract that harms immigrant workers.

One example, he said, would be removing temporary protected status.

The designation granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are for those who flee other countries due to natural disasters, conflicts and other extraordinary circumstances.

Click to read the full article @The Washington Informer