Activists from the two-million member Service Employees International Union gathered on a tree-lined street in Paulus Hook yesterday to protest. Their cause: a married couple fired from their jobs in a luxury waterfront building where a one-bedroom apartment rents for $3,500 a month.

Nick and Madeline Rivera, said the SEIU, were let go for union organizing at Hudson Point Apartments on Dudley Street and pointed the finger at the owner Equity Residential and the staffing company Guardian Service Industries. The union has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against the two companies with the National Labor Relations Board.

Fired concierge Nick Rivera speaking to SEIU activists

Speaking through a P.A. system set up across from the building, Jersey City native and former concierge Nick Rivera recalled rushing to put out a fire in an apartment while the tenant family slept, unaware of the danger. “To me, that’s what it means to be a concierge. It means protecting the people inside their home.”

“All my wife and I did was deliver a petition. That’s why we were fired. We put out some pro-union items and the next thing you know we’re both out of a job.”

Ward E Councilman James Solomon, who appeared with Ward F Councilman Frank Gilmore to support the union, called what the companies did wrong. “We do not stand for businesses that value profit over people and that’s what Equity and Guardian did.”

Addressing the companies, Gilmore said, “we will fight…we will continue to fight to insure that you treat people justly.”

Guardian did not respond to a message requesting comment. When an employee of Equity Residential was asked for a comment, he hung up.

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....