Mall owner joins pact to raise employment standards

Simon Properties Group is one of two national retail mall owners entering into a partnership with the nation’s largest union of property service workers in an effort to raise national employment standards for the janitors and other service workers employed in their malls.

Westfield Properties also has entered into the agreement with Service Employees International Union.

Under the agreement, the nation’s two largest retail mall owners will support only those contractors that meet certain employment standards, which include paying working wages, offering affordable health insurance and respecting workers’ rights to unionize.

The new effort, which will have an impact on approximately 5,000 workers employed in 373 malls across the country, arose from concerns over the growing income gap among American workers, the companies said.

According to a statement released by the SEIU, most cleaning contractors pay low wages and do not offer medical insurance, vacation or sick days in an attempt to keep bid prices competitive.

“By putting their corporate values first, Westfield and Simon have chosen a business model that will have a positive impact on the communities they operate in by transforming low-wage jobs into good jobs with a future,” said Andrew L. Stern, president of the SEIU. “This partnership will result over time in a more stable workforce that can deliver even higher quality services to clients.”

Among Indianapolis-based Simon’s properties are the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, the Rockingham Mall in Salem and the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua. – TRACIE STONE

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