TEC JOINS SATAN IN NEW CAMPAIGNTO OPPRESS THE POORAND SAVES A BIT OF MONEY

From THE NY DAILY NEWS:

They worked for years cleaning and maintaining the Episcopal Church Center in midtown Manhattan. But after they were fired on Dec. 30, nine hard-working people are in desperate need of divine intervention.

"We came to work on Dec. 30 as every day, hoping to leave a little earlier to celebrate the new year," said Bronx native Héctor Miranda, a father of three. "But when we got to the building we were told that we no longer worked there. Just like that. They picked the date well to fire us."

Now, without the means to support his family, Miranda has no idea how he will pay the rent.

"Even worse," he said, "without health coverage I don't know how I am going to pay for my wife's treatment. She is a diabetic, you know."

The workers lost their jobs - which paid standard wages and benefits - when the church canceled the contract with Paris Maintenance, a union cleaning contractor, and replaced it with the nonunion Benjamin Enterprises.

Last Thursday, more than 100 people gathered in front of the church to support the workers and ask church officials to help them get their jobs back.

"They [church officials] just looked out the windows," said Colombian-born Andrea Saavedra, 32, who worked at the church building for two years and 16 for Paris Maintenance.

Church spokeswoman Neva Rae Fox said, "It needs to be clear that looking for a new contract is a normal business procedure."

But a church is not supposed to be a business and Saavedra, the single mother of a 12-year-old daughter, said: "One would expect better from church people, one would expect them to be examples of fairness and kindness."

Linda Watts, chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, put out an official statement: "Budget constraints have prompted The Episcopal Church to review all contracts and to implement cost-cutting measures where possible," she said. No mention of the plight of the nine men and women thrown out to the streets or of lending them a helping hand.

"Good luck, we wish you all the best," read the note the workers found in their lockers on Dec. 30.

For services
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Comments

TEC JOINS SATAN IN NEW CAMPAIGNTO OPPRESS THE POORAND SAVES A BIT OF MONEY — 25 Comments

  1. I think their loss of jobs is tragic. It is not clear to me however that TEC is to blame. TEC is in deep financial difficulty, caused by all sorts of factors. People who are out of work or fear it simply pledge less among other things.

    The church did not employ these folks, Paris Maintenance did. And Paris did not win the new contract. If they did not provide alternate opportunities for long time employees one wonders what sort of managers they are.

    TEC has been drawing down it staff size at the 815 building and has considered selling it. Those of us who think the church has been way to East Coast focused actually think that is a good idea.

    It is sad, and we do not look good. But I fear that given the cash flow realities it was responsible thing to do.

    Sad

    FWIW
    jimB

  2. I’m sorry, Jim, but shit. We’re supposed to give our coat to the person without a coat. My suggestion is that all paid workers employed by TEC, directly or through an agency, put their money into a big pot and then share it out equally. If giving drops each person’s pay drops. If giving increases, each person’s wages increase. All in the same boat, pulling together. This is not a new idea. In fact, it worked well in the early Jerusalem church (unless you behaved like TEC are doing here when I’m afraid you tended to drop dead on the spot).

  3. Just imagine, KJS calling in the scabs.

    And yet this church has the audacity to issue statements on the need for economic justice–that is, when other people are treating the workers badly.

    I have never once been ashamed to be an Episcopalian…until now.

    But then my grandfather was a United Mine Worker, back in the days of company goons beating strikers with pick handles. I guess I don’t have the typical Episcopalian background.

  4. I guess we all occasionally come down on opposite sides of the fence on some topics, thus we agree to disagree.

    Has it rent the fabric of our communion with one another here at OCICBW… if we disagree? Or are we still in communion because of the vast majority of things upon which we can & do agree?

  5. I have never agreed to disagree in my life. It is the most illogical statement I have ever heard.

    However, I am quite happy to remain friends with people who are wrong about something, my friend.

  6. Jonathon, Yes if we have a coat. 815 is a problem in its own right and the simple fact is we cannot afford it. The church has been laying off its own staff including Fr. Jake and a couple other clergy. It simply cannot afford the hq building and has rented a lot of it out.

    Let me ask the obvious, where the heck is Paris Maintenance? Why didn’t they do a better bid? How is it no one is noticing that when the “orthodox” diocese refuse to send in their portion of the budget this is what happens? Lots of blame to go around on this one.

    FWIW
    jimB

  7. As a parish priest in the US earns at least twice as much as their English equivalent, and goodness knows how much your bishops and top execs earn, there is obviously enough money to go round as well, Jim. What TEC is saying is that it is better to lay poor people off than to give of their own.

    I would take a pay cut to protect the livelihoods of people employed by the church who are less well off than me (even though there are very few of them).

    It would hurt, I would hate doing it, but that’s Christianity.

  8. Having sat through many the homily on “economic justice” given by an ordained person with a summer home…and having had the time that I spend at my own paid employment treated as a less-than-worthy distraction from my unpaid church work…I think it is high time we in the TEC got out of our pink limousines and removed the beams from our own eyes.

  9. No way should the church be replacing a union outfit with a non-union outfit just because the non-union outfit are cheaper. The church should be able to grasp why the non-union outfit are cheaper: because they are exploitative.

    Hard to understand too why no efforts have been made to help these workers who are now in a dire situation.

  10. Exactly…I´d like to have the entire PR Department at the Episcopal Church reduced, removed and then replaced with younger, stronger, healther and more CLEVER MINDS (and talent)…remember the notable, unnoticeable mess of a full page Episcopal Church ad that was run, full page in a National Newspaper last Fall? Let´s see, I hear $75,000 being mentioned as a placement figure (I wonder who got the placement commission? In house or another plundering Contractor?)…with not-so-clever leadership like ours we ought rent out the Business OFFICE (plus the three assistants) of the ANGLICAN HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVER from UGANDA…that person can´t clean up a mess!

    Of course there were many options, the most obvious/easiest was chosen…messy all around!

  11. whoops, above is Leonardo Ricardo, who spent his ENTIRE working career in retail and wholesale in the Fashion Bizzzzz and knows how to deal with a budget, revising budgets and viable options that are everyday REALITIES when one is a business person, any ¨hands on¨ reality based business person who MUST BE PROFITABLE and create good will/profit from bad choices…versitile talents/know-how that is obviously lacking at 815 (again). Experience counts, ¨should be´s¨ decided in a vacum (or lecturehalls or chittychat) don´t usually amount to much.

  12. Cathy;

    The Episcopal Church
    Office of Public Affairs
    [February 5, 2010] The following information is from Linda Watt, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church:

    Budget constraints have prompted The Episcopal Church to review all contracts and to implement cost-cutting measures where possible.

    A major item in our facilities budget is the cleaning/housekeeping service that covers 815 Second Ave. in New York City, including the Ad Council and Episcopal Church associated agencies as well as DFMS offices. This line item was cut substantially in the budget.

    A Request For Proposal (RFP) was issued as part of normal business operations. The RFP was issued to both union and non-union firms, including minority and women-owned businesses.

    Following a thorough review of the proposals submitted, Benjamin Enterprises, a minority-owned firm, has been awarded a one-year contract for housekeeping services at The Episcopal Church Center effective January 4, 2010.

    Business practices for Benjamin Enterprises are in line with the values, practices and priorities of The Episcopal Church, including a comprehensive compensation package, laudable employee relations practices, and the use of eco-friendly supplies. We look forward to working with their management and staff.

    Linda Watt
    Chief Operating Officer
    The Episcopal Church

  13. “No way should the church be replacing a union outfit with a non-union outfit just because the non-union outfit are cheaper. The church should be able to grasp why the non-union outfit are cheaper: because they are exploitative.”

    I completely agree, Cathy.

    Well, DVBB, I’m a cradle Episcopalian (from a long line. The Finlay family were Anglicans from before they got off the boat and that was a LONG time ago…) But I’m also an old union member from back in the day. (American Federation of Musicians; American Federation of Teachers) And I have been on the receiving end of union-busting activites and they can be very, very ugly.

    Before I joined the union, I did music gigs in which management was, indeed, horribly exploitative. That’s why I joined up.

    I would like to say a lot more about this but it’s early in the morning here, I’m caffeine deprived and my brain hasn’t kicked in yet. (Such as it is…)

  14. I would like to say a lot more about this but it’s early in the morning here, I’m caffeine deprived and my brain hasn’t kicked in yet.

    I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to sack you then.

  15. JimB asked, How is it no one is noticing that when the “orthodox” diocese refuse to send in their portion of the budget this is what happens?

    Indeed. And my diocese, Dallas, is among the worst offenders. They haven’t sent in their assessment to the national church since, what ? 2004 ? And as far as I’m concerned, any diocese that doesn’t pay their assessment shouldn’t be allowed seats or votes at General Convention 😛

    I’m proud to say, however, that my parish does deduct that amount from its diocesan assessment and sends it directly to 815. But that doesn’t make up for all the funding TEC is losing from the vast majority of the Dio. of Dallas…

  16. hiya Dah-veed – thanks for posting the details. It sounds like the firm they chose ticked a lot of the right boxes, being minority-owned and having a good compensation package, etc, and it may well be a firm where those who are running it try very hard to do the right thing. I still think, though, that a union outfit is in principle better, because it means there is a way that is external to company management of making sure that employees are well treated. Companies, left to their own devices, will always say that their employee practices are fair and that they are completely brilliant in every way. Capitalism being what it is, this is rarely true. (At least in my experience.)

    Ellie – thanks!