Cleaners say WeWork threatened to fire them for unionizing

Cleaners working at WeWork’s New York locations say the co-working space startup threatened to fire them if they unionized, BuzzFeed reports.

A branch of the Service Employees International Union, representing more than 100 of WeWork’s contracted janitors, filed a charge to the National Labour Relations Board Thursday.

Earlier this week, WeWork’s janitors organised and protested outside of WeWork’s New York headquarters. They want to make as much as their unionized colleagues do.

WeWork’s cleaners come from a non-union contractor and make about $US11 an hour. Unionized janitors can make $US23 an hour in addition to receiving benefits, the local SEIU chapter told BuzzFeed.

WeWork is a four-year-old startup that divides up big, rented office spaces, subletting them to startups and other businesses. Right now, the company has 15 office spaces in New York City. WeWork also has office spaces in cities like San Francisco and Washington DC.

Valued at $US5 billion with $US568.9 million in funding from T. Rowe Price, Benchmark Capital, and Wellington Management, WeWork is among the most valuable private tech companies in the world.

WeWork isn’t the only startup coming into conflict with contracted laborers. Earlier this week, the California Labour Commission ruled that an Uber driver who brought a lawsuit against the company was an employee, not an independent contractor.

We have reached out to WeWork for comment on this story, and we’ll update accordingly.

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