Houston janitors go on citywide strike
Houston janitors walked off the job Tuesday, July 10 for the first time since 2006, citing eroding health benefits and retaliatory acts by employers for living wage demands as the catalysts.
According to a press release from the Service Employees International Union, Pritchard, Aztec and Eurest, companies that contract for cleaning services, are failing to contribute to the workers' health and welfare fund, while GCA and ISS have ceased withholding worker contributions to the fund. Both acts have prompted SEIU Local 1 to file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.
"The story of Houston's janitors is the story of every hard-working man and woman in this country who has stood up and fought for a better life," said Elsa Caballero, state director of SEIU Local 1, in the press release, "At a moment when our country has begun to confront the staggering implications of income inequality, Houston's janitors are on the front line, fighting for justice."
According to SEIU, most of its workers struggle with health care costs because they earn less than $9,000 a year, while Houston-based Fortune 500 companies like Chevron, Shell, JPMorgan and Hines are thriving financially, some seeing a 30 percent increase in profits last year.
Activist and actor Danny Glover, Texas Congressman Al Green and Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, as well as NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, reportedly offered their support to strikers.
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