Janitors Make Final Plea For Higher Wages

Houston Councilmember Ed Gonzalez addressed dozens of union members who were at the press conference.
After weeks of strikes and stalled negotiations — Houston janitors will meet with building owners tomorrow to work out a labor contract. Janitors are asking for a raise to ten dollars an hour.

Major companies like Hines and JPMorgan Chase are in contract negotiations with their janitorial services.

Hundreds of janitors have been on strike since July 10th, but Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese called on the janitors to return to work and go to the negotiating table in good faith.

Negotiations resume tomorrow morning and several Houston elected officials, including state representatives, Houston councilmembers and the mayor, are calling on the companies to raise the wage for janitors.

This is Congressman Gene Green.

"In Houston, we have strong industries, we have a lot of good opportunity. And there is no reason why janitors in Houston should make $8.35 an hour, when in janitors in Chicago make $15.45 an hour."

Janitors strikeThe janitors, represented by the Service Employees International Union, are asking for $10 an hour. Houston Councilmember Ed Gonzalez addressed dozens of union members who were at the press conference.

"You're not asking for exaggerated benefits or anything of the like, you're just asking for fairness. And we stand with you because many times when we all go home, it's you that stay in these buildings long hours, working very hard for extremely low wages."

The SEIU estimates the average wage for janitors in Houston is less than $9,000 a year.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...