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Janitor Strike for Living Wage Grows Across Houston & US

(John Donnelly, KRIV 26 News)
Service Employees International Union leaders say their strike is spreading. The strike began with nine buildings here in Houston and has spread to 18 buildings in just two weeks.

They say the strike will spread to a total of eight cities on Wednesday.  Workers in Washington, Minneapolis, Seattle, Boston, San Ramon and Oakland will join the picket line tomorrow in support of Houston workers.

Workers, like Maria Lopez, say she earns less than $9,000 a year cleaning offices. “We can’t survive on this,” Lopez said through a translator.  To support herself and her eight-year-old daughter, she has to work two jobs.

The union’s contract with the five major cleaning companies in the city expired in May.  It’s trying to get a raise from $8.35 and hour to $10 an hour over four years.  They say the cleaning companies have countered with a 50¢ raise over five years.

The union is appealing directly to the companies that hire the contractors.  They have been holding demonstrations inside and outside of office buildings.  Union leader Elsa Caballero explained their message.

“You can do the right thing.  If the building owners step up and do the right thing, then it’s easier for the contractors to do the right thing because they will know that the people that hire them are basically in support of this. They are in favor of creating good paying jobs in the city of Houston.” And that, she says, is good for the city’s economy.
(See the full story at KRIV 26 News)

RELATED STORIES:
Janitors Strike in Contract Dispute (Houston Chronicle)
Striking Janitors Want Wages Above The Poverty Level (KUHF Public Radio)

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