Roughly 90% of the subcontracted workforce who cleaned the New York offices of WeWork, the co-working startup recently valued at $10 billion, have been laid off amid allegations that the company is anti-union and discriminates against immigrants.

The 150 custodians who picked up left-over coffee cups, swept hallways, and cleaned conference rooms for $10/hour learned in July that their employer had terminated its contract with WeWork. The contract was set to run out on Sunday, August 23rd. A month earlier they had begun organizing for higher pay and benefits.

Still, without any formal notice from WeWork (the startup has stressed that such notifications are the subcontractor's responsibility), the workers reported to their shifts on Monday as if it were any other work day. Most of them had applied for new positions at the company, and were still hoping to hear back.

Pete Vega, 38, has worked as a custodian at WeWork's 79 Madison Avenue location since April. "I reported as usual on Monday, and found out that they had already hired other people to fill in our roles, and we no longer worked there," he told us.

"It's clear that WeWork is retaliating against us for joining the union," said Mercis Gomez, who was laid off from WeWork's Empire State location. She says that when she asked a WeWork manager about applying for one of the new positions, the manager "strongly encouraged" her to take back the formal application that she had submitted to SEIU 32BJ, the union helping the workers organize, in June.

"We hired the best candidates, period. Any suggestion that engaging in union activity hurt applicants is patently false," a WeWork spokeswoman said in a statement. "We posted the jobs and interviewed or will interview every [former] employee who has applied. We have about 25 jobs remaining and plan to fill those jobs in the next few weeks."

According to a spokeswoman for 32BJ, 15 of the 150 cleaners have been hired by WeWork to date. Last night, dozens of them gathered outside of WeWork's headquarters at 115 West 18th Street, to hold a candlelit vigil for their lost jobs.

Even if all 25 open jobs are filled with former employees of the workers' former contractor, Commercial Building Maintenance Corp., more than a hundred of them will have to look elsewhere for work.

"There are 12 of us at my building, and we all applied for a lot of jobs, but only three of us were given interviews, and none of us have been given a job," Vega told us on Monday.

Vega says he was summoned for a thirty-minute conversation with a WeWork manager on August 14th. "He called me down in the middle of the work day," Vega recalled. "He said he had heard good things about me, that I communicate well with the clients, and he asked me a whole bunch of questions about my job duties."

According to Vega, when the manager listed off the wages and benefits associated with the new positions, Vega pointed out that it was unfair that those same benefits hadn't been available to him as a subcontracted cleaner. The manager replied that because the union had gotten involved, the company hadn't been able to "directly negotiate" with the workers.

"He asked me what my position was on unions, and I explained that if you're an employee, you might be inclined to work with one to ensure quality jobs," Vega said. "He said that if they called me in for an interview, it would be for a non-union job." Vega said. "He emphasized that. And I never got a call back."

In a statement released on Monday, WeWork acknowledged that it had hired 100 new full time "community services" employees, with competitive starting hourly wages of $15 to $18, plus benefits, a 401(k) plan, and even equity in the company.

"WeWork's mission is to create a place where our members can truly work to make a life, not just a living. We are thrilled to be able to act on this mission by welcoming these new team members to our community," the statement said.

The new positions call for computer literacy and the "ability to communicate in English"—troubling requirements for the majority of the laid-off workers, who are immigrants and speak English as a second language. Leinny Olivo, 26, used to clean WeWork's 23rd Street location. She told us in July, through a translator, that she thought the English requirement was "discriminatory" because her English vocabulary was sufficient to complete the tasks that her cleaning job required. Still, Olivo applied for the in-house position, with the help of 32BJ.

The union also helped the workers make a video inspired by promotional clips put out by the company.

Vega, a licensed electrician and fluent English speaker, applied for four jobs at WeWork in anticipation of this month's termination date—a maintenance job and a mail room job in addition to the "community services" positions—and has yet to get a formal response. "I can't even file unemployment because I don't have the official documents saying I was laid off," he said.