Union: 240 Undocumented Janitors Terminated

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Half the workers at a janitorial company operating in the Twin Cities are being fired because they failed to provide documents proving they were legally in the U.S., according to their union.

The 240 employees at Harvard Maintenance would be dismissed by the end of the month, said Christopher Nulty, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union Local 26.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified the company it suspected some workers were illegal immigrants, and in December the company gave its employees 90 days to produce proper documentation, Nulty told Minnesota Public Radio News.

Two years ago, more than 1,200 janitors at ABM, another large commercial cleaning company in the Twin Cities, lost their jobs after a similar immigration audit.

Javier Morillo, local president of SEIU, told MPR that the investigations of Harvard Maintenance and ABM didn’t fit with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s stated goal of focusing on employers who knowingly hire and exploit unlawful workers.

“The janitors of the Twin Cities that are in the union, they’re not depressing wages for janitors,” Morillo said. “There are janitorial companies that pay much, much less that actually depress wages that are not being targeted for ICE audits.”

ICE said in a statement that it wouldn’t confirm or deny a possible ongoing investigation. Harvard Maintenance of New York did not return two calls seeking comment Tuesday.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • justice fleeting

    Good! Be legal or no labor.

    • Here comes the race card

      Wow the race card has been pulled out

    • JC

      It’s mostly low-skilled Americans, particularly African-Americans, that are affected by illegal immigrant workers. Do you really think it’s the college-educated white folks that are competing for those jobs?

    • Citi

      I worked at one of the sites where ABM had to fire all but 2 of their cleaning staff, and yes, many of those jobs were filled by white people as well as other ethnicities. When ABM let all those illegals go, people were lined up for blocks to get a $13-14 an hour job as a cleaner and do janitorial work. You should get your facts straight before making this a race thing. I was recently a member of the 9.4% and did not live like a king on unemployment, that’s for sure!

    • Tuna-free dolphin

      Illegals have driven wages down because they’ll work for so much less than an American citizen will. That’s the only reason Americans won’t do these jobs. There is an American citizen waiting, willing and wanting to do any job you can think of. Even the dirty ones. Of course why would they do it for the wage an illegal will do it for? They won’t. And why would employers pay what the job is worth when there is a ready supply of cheap illegal labor? They won’t . That’s the fallacy of the “they do jobs Americans don’t want”. All you need is one or two previously unused brain cells to figure this one out.

      • Brad Childress


    • Laura L

      Well I have extensive back ground and most people don’t know just how bad it really is. They will work for 4.00 which is 3.75 below min. pay. Besides they live 10 people in one house otherwize who could live on that. The companies are fined 50,000. but of course they play the I didn’t know card because they didn’t check to get out of it. I know of hotels that have all illegals working there but of course they have inside people letting them know when immagration is coming. there are a lot of people unemployed right now and I bet any money they all want to work. Who could live on 200 or 300 a week. and pay a mortgage and put food on the table. Hey they are only coming here to have children cuz when that child turns 12 they can make their parents legal.

  • Tom

    These are the laws we live by. We want them enforced.

  • well duh!

    Well it is not rocket science. If you are here legally, than it should not be a problem. However, if you are here illegally, either get your citizenship or go home.

  • rich

    ok, these people are here illeagally, they lose their jobs. but what about the company that hired them? i would like to see the company suffer some penalty for hiring illeagals

  • Mike

    Why hasn’t the EMPLOYEER been thrown in jail for KNOWINGLY HIRINIG ILLEGALS?

    • Justin Ulrich

      Because our wonderful corporate and equal rights laws don’t allow companies to check citizen status unless there is a reasonable reason to do so. So even though a company might have an inkling that the guy isn’t a legal citizen they can’t check it out.

      • Earl

        Then why is there a place to check on job applications if you are legal to work in the US ? If they can ask, they can check. That would take time and money.

    • Charlie

      Because the union influences the hiring and firing too!

      Sure is ironic and obvious at the same time… Makes me sick!

      BTW, I do not blame the illegals for trying to better themselves…

      It is just the unions and politicians that lose the real objective here.

    • Gail Ray Johnson

      We as employers have to ask for documentation for the I-9 form. One form of ID is a drivers license. Anyone can obtain a drivers license – illegal or not.
      BUT, if an employer is knowingly hiring without the proper documentation they can and should be fined $1,000.00 per employee.
      Thank Goodness at least one employer is not afraid to do the right thing after doing the wrong thing!!!!

  • B.

    I’ll GUARENTEE the union will not help them, nor should they. But the union GLADLY took their union dues…… Shouldn’t the union also be looking into the citizenship status? I think so.

    • C.

      The companies that take their utility payments each month did so just as gladly, by your rationale, why not hold them accountable for this fiasco as well?

    • HockeyNerd

      The SEIU has a history of advocating for illegals. They’ll probably make a big deal about it. The SEIU has been linked for advocating for amnesty for illegals.

      • Chris

        The unions are crying that they need to protect jobs and prevent offshoring of jobs… Isn’t it amazing that they participate in this type of hiring of illegals???
        I gues it is OK if they are paying dues… so all of their talk about saving jobs is total BS… They really do not care! When will people realize this and support our laws instead of union propaganda?

    • Irresposible Reporting

      Hmm. You apply for a job and fill out the application. The employer hires you because you qualify for the job. After a certain amount of time you join the union. Why is this story coming from the union?

      BECAUSE the company has been benefiting from hiring the undocumented workers. The company … not the union … has the responsibility to hire qualified documented workers. The company should be FINED and the undocumented workers sent home and the country where they came from should also be FINED and pay the costs associated with getting them home.

      This author of story should have focused on the company that hired the undocumented workers. They should have been asked why they hired undocumented workers and what they were going to do to prevent this from happening again.

      The Associated Press didn’t publish this in a responsible way. They published it with the sole intent of selling the story. Our First Amendment rights are being tainted by irresponsible reporting. The AP or WCCO needs to evaluate their role in responsible reporting and in this story, and although they reported what the company’s had to say (nothing) but what about what Homeland Security said? Was the company fined or reprimanded in any way? What happened to the undocumented workers? What are the responsibilities of a company to verify that their employees are documented workers?

      • Terry

        Why wouldnt it be the Union’s responsibility to ensure that the people they force to join the union are legal to work in the United States?

      • WJ

        It is not the union’s job to ensure the workers are legal it is the employer that hired them!!!!!! The employer should be held accoutable especially if they knew they were hiring illegals.

    • Joe

      The why is the union the one sharing this info?
      They are looking for sympathy because they lost 200 dues payers…
      Isn’t it obvious what really matters to the union bosses?
      They should be embarrassed!

  • really

    All right all you people whining about immigrants taking all your jobs…get out there and fill those positions right now!!

    • Petra

      Right on!!!!

      • KM

        The question is whether they are here legally or not. That they are taking jobs you think no one else will want is beside the point. End of discussion.

  • http://madminnesota@yourdoorstep.com married to the truth

    90 more jobs for AMERICANS! Just think what would happen if we had a REAL crackdown and shook the rug of every business? Wait……did I just say that? Yep, okay I’m not dreaming.

    • stace34

      I won’t hold my breath waiting for AMERICANS to go out and accept these jobs.

      • David G

        DOPES what about all the people in jail they can do these jobs and pay for thier keep!

  • Petra

    Well now there are jobs available for the people that are outta work. But they probably wont take them cause they dont pay enough. I’m so tired of this disrespect of ‘illegals’. My grandparents came over here years ago from Mexico n made the US their home. There are a lot of jobs for the unemployed Americans but they dont want to do them because they dont pay enough or dont like the hours. The illegals are the ones that bust their butts for pennies but appreciate everything they get. We as Americans need to start appreciating what we have n quit crying around

    • http://madminnesota@yourdoorstep.com married to the truth

      Wait what!?! Illegal disrespect? Lmfao! Maybe if you were legal we would respect you. Maybe if you spoke english as your primary language we would. Maybe if you respected the laws we would. Maybe if you took care of your reponsibilites we would. Maybe if you could drive we would. Maybe if you were legal………

      • John

        Did your grand parents come here illegally too?

      • Sara

        I am a single caucasion woman, college educated, my primary langauge is English, I have a good job and pay my taxes. Leave illegal immigrants alone!!! They are hard working people who are underpaid and appreciate every dollar they get.
        P.S. Now my office won’t get cleaned well anymore….:(

    • tbone

      Please get a grip on reality. The reason these jobs dont pay enough is because illegals will do them for next to nothing. Open up these job markets and make the employers pay a living wage, not use the backbones of people to fatten their botom line

    • Mary

      What part of illegal do you not understand? You can’t just pick and choose which laws to follow.

      • Ralph

        Drive just under the speed limit. One example of many of laws people chose to not follow.

    • JC

      They don’t pay enough? Have you heard of supply and demand? Perhaps if the illegals weren’t here, these companies would be forced to pay a decent wage. But of course that’s just me being racist, I suppose.

      • Clint Make My Day

        No – just a hoping. ;-)

        Now if the GOP gets some tax incentives to hire you, maybe a TIF district for someone to put in a building too, and assurances that all tax loop holes remain for at least 5 years to shuffle the cash out…. they like to file the business BK’s after they’ve stashed the $$$$. Then they might give you a quarter more an hour than they do now. LMAO at the fools who buy into the GOP hogwash on a daily basis as they played like a fiddle

    • Petra

      I am LEGAL but I know first hand what immigrants go through. Yes they are hard working people and never complain n appreciate everything they get over here n they wonder why we take the freedoms we have for granted! Some of these comments I read are just plain iggnorance.

  • BBarrios

    It not as easy as on would think for these people to aqquire legal documentation.. (3 rd world country with corrupt govt )unless they are refugees who we seem to welcome with open arms the odds of geeting a visa are slim to none. Illegal really? when was the last time you drove a few miles over the speed limit or forgot to completley stop at a stop sign.. I bet every person in this country is ILLEGAL..

    • Sara

      I was so mad when I read this article that I had to leave my own response as well. Good point, BBarrios!!! :)

    • Petra

      Right on. Everyone is illegal in some way or another.

    • Terry

      How in the hell do you equate being an illegal alien working in this country (FELONY) with speeding in a car (TRAFFIC TICKET)?

      • Amanda

        Working in this country as an illegal or being an illegal alien is not a FELONY… get your facts straight

    • Ali

      Ah, the old “can’t come any other way, so have to do it illegally” argument. First, immigration policy is for the goood of AMERICANS, not illegal aliens. If they can’t get visas, it’s because we don’t need unskilled uneducated workers who are heavy users of social services. As it is, we get plenty of those through our family reunificaiton policies, which enable even poor Americans to bring in relatives from overseas. That’s why just one country, MEXICO, dominates our legal immigration with 15-20% of the total for the past 20 or so years. And since our legal immigration now runs over 1.1 million a year… There are plenty of LEGAL unskilled Mexican workers to do these jobs, as evidenced by the fact that 60% of Chipotle’s workforce was LEGAL. You might also note that Mexico is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and home to the world’s richest man, so how is it that it can’t or won’t provide jobs for its own citizens? Social services?

      • Sara

        Who said this article was about Mexicans? Let’s not generalize here…

  • Who me?

    They knew they were illegal, all the unions dues that they have paid needs to be taken away and given to ICE to fight more of this infestation. The company and the Unions need to be fined!

    • Clint's packin'

      And so do all the “want it cheaper by the dozen” Americans who are reaping what they have sown.

      truth be the truth and time you admit it

  • Terry

    In response to Petra. Most of us have an immigrant past, somewhere in the family tree. America is the land of promise and dreams and there is nothing wrong with wanting to come here. COME HERE LEGALLY! Illegals have no right to be here or to work here and cause the rest of us to have to pay for education for their children, health care for them all. THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO BE HERE ILLEGALLY!

    • Tad G

      To this day I imagine that most Native Americans would express the same thing to those that came after them

      just sayin’ lol

      • Really?

        Native Americans ancestors migrated here too. They would have to go back to what is now Russia…

      • Petra

        Excuse me Really? We did not immigrate here we were already here thats why we are called NATIVE AMERICANS. Right on Tad G, we feel the same way when Columbus got lost LOL

      • Ali

        Petra, you’re quite, qutie WRONG. Native Americans immigrated over the land bridge that existed between Asia and what is now N. America thousands of years ago. There’s also evidence that they displaced Kennewick Man which does not have the same DNA as Native Americans.

    • Heididog


      • John

        Agreed 110%. Years ago we watched a news program about illegals getting medical treatment. They get free medical care while we have to pay for everything! I am so sick and tired of it!

    • Hola Gomez

      There are many excuses for being here illegally whether you like it or not. Quit acting holier than thou. Be appreciative of the life you have and not judge other for their desperate actions.

      • Terry

        There is NO EXCUSE for being here illegally! Period.

      • Listen up!

        Hola Gomez, If you are here illegally, then go back where you came from! There is no reason to enter the United States illegally and take jobs from the American people that are here legally! PERIOD!!!

      • Ali

        Does it occur to you that AMERICANS built the life we have? That it didn’t just miraculously “grow”. That our ancestors literally gave their lives for ths country? That they worked in sweat shops and endured the struggle for unionization to get better working conditions for everyone? That they taxed themselves to pay for public education and hospitals and other infrastructure? “Luck” is something that lazy, ignorant people always attribute success to.

        How is it that Mexico, which is one of the richest countries in the world and home to the world’s richest man, has squandered its abundance and is so unpleasant that its own citizens don’t want to live there?
        Mexico is, after all, on the same contient as the U.S. with abundant natural resources. So, just what is it about Mexican culture that has left its citizens so unhappy to live there?

    • Cher

      I agree completely!

      • Chas

        I wish you and Sonny had gotten back together.

  • Joey

    robot janitors.

  • Scott Walker Rocks!

    We will take 1 ‘illegal’ but Mexico needs to take 1 Democrat fair trade!

    • Blue Dog

      I thought the fair trade act was a Republican initiative, so shouldn’t we be trading republicans?

      • Here comes the race card

        Lets just be fair and get rid of all Dems and Repubs

      • Wendy says koooool aid for GOP

        Not acceptable – they have no clue what the word “work” means.

        Look at T-Paw ;-)
        enough said

  • kevin

    Why are they just loosing there JOBS? Why are they not being arrested and deported? They have all broken our immigration laws. Politicans do your jobs and demand deportation and start respecting the laws you have created and signed into law.

    • Hola Gomez

      I wish they did the same to your ancestor you hypocrite trailer park resident.

      • Chuck

        Hola, What the heck do you mean by that?! Please spare us that BS…

      • TTT

        My ancestors came here, filled out paperwork, waited a few years, met the requirements and then created a better life. Do the same or STFU!

      • Scott

        My ancestor are of original American heritage, the ones who were here before the white man, before the Spanish, before a meximelt, I have blood of our founding fathers of this nation running through my veins also. Now can I see your citizenship papers? By the way my house is not a trailer like yours, I have a house I built from the land, and one you will never be able to afford. The best thing you can do is go back to where you came from and leave our country as clean as you found it. I have been to Mexico and it was filthy, trash everywhere, and I am sure you are like the rest; you leave your trash lying instead of putting it in a trash can. It comes from your heritage; your people are pigs leaving your trash everywhere not caring for the earth. It use to be the white man was use to clean after his self, but the now generation is just as trashy as you; they feel they do not have to pick up their trash so they leave it lying on the ground. I see it at rallies by the democrats and unions. I do respect the Tea Party people though, the leave their demonstrations clean as they find them, and sometimes cleaner. I have no respect for you. For you are disrespectful of our country so you should leave.

      • Listen up!

        Hola. Most of our ancestors came into this country LEGALLY and made their own way LEGALLY!!! Our ancestors worked hard to make this country the way it is today and never asked for a handout from anyone including the government, the way illegals who are entering the country are!!

      • H8er of gomez

        Maybe they should have a look at your card!

  • stace34

    Firing the illiegals is not the answer. Fining businesses is the only way this problem gets solved. this issue. Until it becomes unprofitable for companies to hire illegal labor they won’t stop doing it.

  • Hola Gomez

    There you go America, more jobs for you. Go apply!

    • Amanda

      Right… I can place a bet that maybe 4 applications will be received…. and that is too much…. because the white people and african americans too are sitting down collecting unemployment and waiting for another extensions… I do staffing and that is the answer that I get at least 10 times a day when I do a job offer,…. sad, very sad

    • Petra

      Well said

  • Scott

    I would think that these jobs want last long, because union work is a desired job, sense a union labor makes more than the average labor, plus they receive insurance, and guarnteed retirement pensions. If I were out of work I would be checking it out, honestly, it has to pay more than unemployment.

    • Tracey

      Exactly, these are union positions. It may not be $28 per hr like an electrician but that is a skilled trade.

      Janitorial work is not as skilled as going to school for 6 years. They should be paid less.

      It still has pension, benefits and other perks.

      Trust me, there will be tons of people filling these positions.

      BTW, I don’t care what race you are, go to work LEGALLY.

      Where is the left wing SEIU hiding now? What comment will they make? You actually think that the employer knew but the union didn’t?

      • Amanda

        Hahahahahahaha tons of people??? in what country? definetely not here

      • Eric

        As a SEIU Member and Steward, we have nothing to do with hiring at all. This is taken on by the employer and HR lets us know of a new employee. When a new hire’s information is sent to me as steward I get the name and address, nothing more.

        It’s not up to the union to determine hiring, and as for firing if they have just cause, not much we can do. We fight to ensure all employees are treated equally.

  • Former Arizonan now in MN

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. Now you have an idea of what Arizona goes through on a daily basis.

    Close the border, build a wall, round up and deport all illegals.

  • Scott

    Now is the time to go after many of the employment agencies. When I was out of work, I went to a employment agency to try to find temperary work. I was dissapointed because I only worked one day after two weeks of no calls from them. I took the job that one day and was surprised, like many I am sure, that there were many mexicans there going to work everyday, and most of them could not speak english. After my one days work I was not called on anymore. I feel I was discriminated against, and have wondered if other Americans are going through the same thing.

  • dan

    All of us have relatives who came here legally worked hard to make this country a better place for all, that being said when they came here they didn’t demand we follow the culture of the country they had left, they didn’t whine when somebody hurt their feelings by saying something they didn’t like, they moved here to live the dream! I feel people have lost sight of that dream, it is collective decision not change everything to make better for me. Come here legally, mind your own business, and live your life quietly and your dreams will come true. Come here illegally and be sent home no questions asked!! And as far as the jobs being to little pay, well unemployment runs out, that’s not the problem, WELFARE doesn’t run out, if you keep giving handouts that don’t run out people will not do anything to better themselves, if you run welfare more like unemployment these “low paying jobs” would get filled by people who are here legally, and the wages would gradually become better.

    • anita mann

      I have to disagree with you, Dan. Slaves weren’t exactly eager to come here and were hardly living the dream once the reached American shores.

  • Robin

    Why were they hired in the first place?
    Employers require documentation.

  • Gomez

    You want a citizenship…catch awhitegal and she is the fastest track to citizenship…white gals need marriage and you need citizenship…simple

    • Flippen crazy it is to think

      the fatter and uglier the faster too.
      Heck – you welcome to them.
      Grab some chocolate too on the way thru

    • Here comes the race card

      Let me guess you had a canoe

    • Sara

      Gomez, Wish it still worked that way…sorry marriage doesn’t guarantee you citizenship anymore.

    • Sara

      Gomez..wish it still worked that way…marriage doesn’t guarantee citizenship anymore. ICE cracked down on that one a long time ago.

    • anita mann

      As a white lady who is married to a Hispanic, what you say is repulsive and illegal itself. Since I have to deal with stupid people asking if my husband married me for a green card, I don’t need you suggesting it as a solution. People are stupid enough on their own.

      And for the record, my family came to the US in the 1850s. My husband’s family has always been here, no boat needed.

  • NUtts

    Stop blaming illegals for taking ur jobs. No one said you couldn’t go apply for the job. Nobody took your job except the fact that you didn’t get off ur ass and go apply for the job. Its one of those gray areas where evryone wants to jump on the bandwagon when illegals get fired. But when someone needs labor they look for the cheapest rate. Blame the people who hire not the ones who are willing to work. At least they are willing to work. One more thing, they don’t drive wages down. The companies who hire drive wages down because they hold the check book. Know who to blame and stop blaming others for you laziness.

    • Grizz


      You Totally Nailed it NUtts

    • the race card

      We have a zombie aleart

    • Ali

      Quite, quite wrong. Illegal aliens apply for jobs using stolen or fake identities. When an employer has lots and lots of applicants with much the same skills, he or she calls the tune. That’s the free market at work. Remove illegal aliens, there are fewer workers, and they’re able to negotiate better wages. Basic supply and demand. And yes, illegal aliens are to blame. They’re liars, cheats, and line jumpers. if they weren’t, they wouldn’t have to steal identities to get jobs, would they? And just why do you think illegal aliens can’t find jobs or get better wages in their own countries? Too many unskilled uneducated people competing for too few jobs, in part because they have too many babies.

      • Amanda

        And you Somalians don’t??? you tons of babiesn and on top of that you are dirty, disrespectfull and lazy… Need to say more?

  • Ready For Duty

    I just called Harvard Maint’s local office (nationwide company) and asked if they had any openings. The lady on the phone asked how I heard of the company. I told her that I saw this article about the immigration terminations, and I need a job, and am willing to do any type of work they have. She put me into their HR info message that said they would not be taking apps till April 7th.

    I don’t believe this immigration enforcement action will open up any jobs for legal Americans, and I bet the company will retain these illegal alien workers sub rosa.

    • they trying to make silly stuff up

      You full of poo-poo.
      They are taking applications now for future openings.
      Any chance you are a racist?

      • Ready For Duty

        They Trying, Did you call Harvard? No? Then STFU.
        Racist – Yes. The Human Race is superior!!

      • GreatRedAyeJunk says you fibbing Kevin

        My son did and is there right now. Already sent in an email with intro.
        Maybe you are not really ready for duty?

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