Twitter NYC cleaning workers sue over firings they say spoiled 'Christmas holidays'

NEW YORK (AP) — Eleven former Twitter cleaning workers at its New York City offices sued the company Tuesday, saying they are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and damages after they were abruptly fired in December.

The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court maintained that the company violated New York City rules that protect union workers from being replaced by workers from another cleaning company for at least three months. That company was sued as well.

The firings came within days of four dozen janitors losing their jobs at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco in early December. The California workers protested outside their former workplace after they were dismissed. They maintained that state and local laws required new contractors to retain the workers for at least 60 days.

Twitter returned an email request for comment Tuesday with an automated response and no comment.

In their lawsuit, New York's former Twitter cleaning workers sought an immediate court order reinstating them for at least 90 days, along with back wages and damages.

The lawsuit said the workers were fired on Dec. 19, leaving them “without any employment on the eve of the Christmas holidays.”

“As a result of Twitter’s actions, Plaintiffs were left jobless on Christmas Eve, forcing several of them to cancel or severely curtail their holiday celebrations,” the lawsuit said.

Eight of the 11 full-time workers, earning as much as $31 an hour, had worked there since 2015. Their jobs required them to sweep and mop floors, clean and sanitize kitchens and common spaces and empty and remove trash and recycling, along with other cleaning tasks.

The workers belonged to Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, which represents over 20,000 cleaning workers in roughly 800 New York City buildings.