About 700 janitors working at a dozen L.A. County aerospace facilities owned by Boeing Co., Raytheon Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. went on strike Wednesday night after several weeks of negotiations over wages and healthcare benefits broke down.
The janitors are actually employed by Servicon Systems Inc., Aramark Corp., and Somers Building Maintenance Corp., which are contracted by the aerospace companies for janitorial services. But the union holds the aerospace companies responsible for their contractors’ labor practices.
“The 8,000 janitors working in L.A. County, except at aerospace companies, all get full family health care, and make $2 to $4 more an hour than we do. These are multi-billion dollar companies, they hold the purse strings,” said Lisa Gallegos, a spokeswoman for Service Employees Union Local 1877, which represents the janitors.
Raytheon officials referred questions to its maintenance vendor, while officials at Servicon, Aramark, Somers and Boeing could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for Northrop disagreed the company had a role in the labor dispute.
“As a matter of public policy, Northrop Grumman Corp. does not interfere with the labor relations at its subcontractors,” said Tom Henson, a spokesman for Northrop.
Local teamsters have promised not to cross picket lines to deliver goods to the aerospace companies, while United Auto Workers Union members employed at Boeing, Northrop and Raytheon have promised to walk the picket lines with janitors on breaks and during off hours, Gallegos said.
The union is claiming that underpaying janitors at the aerospace companies, which work on highly sensitive military projects, poses a security risk by creating a revolving door and creating an unstable, less loyal workforce.