Hospital laundry workers may strike if conditions don’t improve, union says

Manhattan
laundry workers.jpeg

Laundry workers rallied in Lower Manhattan for safer conditions during the pandemic, Nov. 11, 2020.

LOWER MANHATTAN — Hospital laundry workers rallied in Lower Manhattan Wednesday, calling on their employer, Unitex, to provide them with two masks a day and the ability to social distance 6 feet apart in the workplace.

Their work includes cleaning soiled bed linens and gowns inside Unitex facilities for some of the largest hospitals in New York City.

“All of this is dirty work,” explained union representative Albert Arroyo. “We cannot do this work if we don’t feel safe.”

And though unnoticed, that work is more important than ever.

“They’re essential workers and the work they do is very important for hospitals and nursing homes, especially in these days with the pandemic,” Arroyo added.

The Laundry Distribution and Food Services Workers Union has been in contract negotiations with Unitex for months. The union said Unitex also wants to cut pension benefits for workers. With no agreement in sight, union workers are preparing for a possible strike.

“The last thing they want to do is to go on strike, that’s not what they want to do, but the employer is pushing them into a strike,” Arroyo said.

Support for the laundry workers is now coming from City Hall.

“They fought on the front lines during the worst days of this pandemic and in return, the people of this city stand in solidarity with them today in demanding a fair contract, retirement security and respect for their sacrifices,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

Unitex did not immediately respond to PIX11’s request for comment.

Manhattan Videos

UWS NYCHA development starts food pantry to feed those in need

Stepfather charged with murder of 10-year-old Harlem boy

Community mourns 10-year-old boy who died after being found unconscious in NYCHA building

NYC Safe Walks expands to Chinatown to respond to anti-Asian bigotry

Opportunities to get vaccinated improve in NYC, but new problems arise

Vaccine supply increases as two NYC sites go 24 hours

More Manhattan

Trending Stories

Connect with PIX11 Online

Connect with PIX11 Online

Don't Miss

Latest Video

Changemakers: EBY makes and sells panties with a purpose

Very mild stretch ahead after a cold start to March

NYPD officers shot in Brooklyn ‘narrowly avoided being killed,’ Shea says

Created Equal: Legacy of the Black Panther Party in NYC

UWS NYCHA development starts food pantry to feed those in need

Yang well ahead in crowded mayoral race amid ranked choice concerns, PIX11 poll finds

NYC high schools set to reopen March 22

Calls for Gov. Cuomo to resign get louder

Create a healthy lifestyle