CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Housing Authority maintenance workers rallied outside Tuesday’s CHA board meeting, calling on the agency to re-think the companies it’s awarding contracts to.

“We have always been essential but are rarely treated like it,” said CHA maintenance worker Yvette Pigrum-Carter.

CHA workers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 1 said, when the agency hired a company called Manage Chicago for building upkeep, cleaning, and repairs to CHA properties, it led to nearly a dozen Black and Brown workers losing their jobs.

The union also claimed there are issues with the company’s bid application and references.

Manage Chicago is scheduled to take over as property manager of the Altgeld Gardens site in September, and SEIU said it believes the move will lead to another 23 workers out of a job.

“Local 1 workers urge CHA to do the right thing: utilize responsible contractors that are going to provide working families with higher wages, strong benefits, and a voice on the job, so that our communities can prosper,” said Lupita Aguila, SEIU Local 1 Residential Division Director.

CHA and Manage Chicago did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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