Cleaning up Twitter Just Got Harder for Elon!

twitter janitors

“The World’s Richest Person” bad boy Elon Musk just can’t seem to stay out of the news or trouble. Instead of cleaning up Twitter as he promised, all he has managed to do is create one mess after another. After firing around half the former work force of 7,500 people at the social media company and opening the tap to allow those who had been banned for hate speech along with other violations of terms of service to reenter the domain, he has now terminated the employment of 48 janitors who do all the heavy day to day cleaning at the massive headquarters building.

These hard-working employees who were classified as “essential” during the COVID pandemic are now being overlooked as merely expendable pawns in the Musk Twitter game of dictating terms and conditions imposed at the expense of others to exert his personal style in reforming and ever changing a nebulous vision of Twitter 2.0.

This latest fiasco involves a labor dispute with the janitors and their union, Local SEIU 87. On Monday, the janitors, whose contract is set to expire on Friday of this week, walked out and began picketing in front of the building. They, like generations before them, are asking for better pay, benefits and job security under the Musk regime.

Musk, who despises organized labor, on Tuesday terminated the contract with the janitors’ employer Flagship in reaction to their action. He followed that by locking the janitors out where they remain defiantly picketing. One worker told this reporter that they will remain there until the matter is resolved in their favor. Musk’s dislike of unions has been adequately displayed at both Tesla and SpaceX who have non-union workforces.

This latest action of locking out the janitors makes one wonder who will now clean Musk’s sink that he so boldly held while parading around during his photo op for the media when he first took over the company. But that may be the least of his worries as both San Francisco and state law require any new cleaning contractor to rehire unionized janitors who were previously working at the building for at least 90 days as a transition into a new contract for services.

The law further stipulates that those not rehired during that period are to receive back pay and benefits for any time they remain unemployed during that time. Twitter would not disclose who the company is for the janitorial contract but no doubt it will be a non-union company.

Imagine how well that will sit with a man estimated to be worth around $170 billion or half of what it was a year ago when he was worth $340 billion.

To add insult to injury in using Musk’s services, San Francisco’s public radio station KQED earlier today Tweeted that “…the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection is launching an investigation into news reported by Forbes that Twitter has set up bedrooms for employees at its headquarters.” This development conflicts with the building’s use permit and will no doubt add to the growing list of arrogant and callous actions that are now a part of the Twitter domain.

Photo by Phil Pasquini

(This article has previously appeared in Nuzeink.)

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.


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