CINCINNATI - Maria Zapeda and her co-workers attended a Cincinnati Council meeting on Oct. 10 seeking help with what Zapeda called “unreasonable working conditions.”
The company where Zapeda worked, Jancoa Janitorial Services, also attended the city council meeting.
Zapeda said a week after the meeting she was fired for no reason by the company she worked for over the past seven years.
"What happened is not fair,” Zapeda said through her interpreter. “We work very hard for our company so we can feed our children. We want to be respected and we want them to stop taking advantage of us."
Zapeda and three other workers cleaned 33 floors during eight-hour shifts in a downtown office building for $9.80 an hour.
Norwood-based Jancoa Janitorial Services contests the allegation that it fired Zapeda. In fact, the company claims that it was Zapeda’s decision that led to her unemployment.
"Ms. Zapeda voluntarily left her employment with the company,” the company wrote in a statement. “There are procedures in our contract with the union under which matters like this are properly considered, and those procedures provide the appropriate venue for discussion and resolution."
During a Wednesday afternoon news conference outside of city hall, Councilman Cecil Thomas said he is outraged that Zapeda lost her job because she spoke to council.
"We felt that we needed to stand with our workers,” Thomas said. "We want them to feel that they can come to us with their concerns without fear of being potentially dismissed for their employment and we said that's just not right that the young lady was fired."
Thomas said his office plans to send Jancoa a letter in hopes of finding out why she was fired.
Zapeda's union said it is trying to get her job back, but Jancoa won't return its calls.
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