The Hartford Courant elected not to publish an advertisement from a local union this week after the state’s largest newspaper opted to not renew a longstanding cleaning contract with the union’s members, the group says.
The employees of Capitol Cleaning will lose their jobs on Dec. 12 after the company lost a competitive bidding process for the cleaning contract at the Courant’s Broad Street headquarters.
The employees’ union, SEIU 32BJ, attempted to buy a large ad in the paper criticizing the decision. The ad featured a photo of Epifania Dejesus, one of the janitors who had been working at the Courant’s building for 16 years.
DeJesus is quoted above the her photo:
“My husband had a stroke and both of us depend on my income and health insurance. I am stressed out because I think, what am I going to do?”
The ad alleges that the paper’s publisher, Richard Graziano, chose to end the contract with the unionized cleaners to maximize profits.
In an email, Jennifer Humes, spokeswoman for CT1 Media a conglomerate that includes the Courant, did not offer a comment on the decision not to run the union’s ad.
She said the company has been taking bids to consolidate cleaning services at the headquarters. The company that eventually won the bid is the cleaning service that currently cleans the manufacturing area of the building, she said. A union official said that they believe the company is replacing Capitol Cleaning with Pressroom Cleaners, which is nonunion.
“This decision is based strictly on the competitive bidding process and will allow CT1 Media to remain competitive as a business,” Humes said.
Humes said Capitol Cleaning will likely remain the cleaning company for the eight other Courant facilities in the state, pending successful contract negotiations.
The newspaper, which is owned by Tribune Co., has been in bankruptcy for years and made staffing cuts to its news department as recently as July.