Houston janitors take strike across the country

Houston janitors are seeking national support.
Houston janitors are seeking national support.

The strikers have travelled to Chicago, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington to rally support from other janitors, in what the union organisers have called a "national escalation plan".

Submitted by Ramona on November 2, 2006

The Houston strike is entering it's second week, with around 1,700 janitors on strike. They are demanding a wage increase from $5.30 an hour to $8.50, and health insurance from their employers. The janitors are employed by several different companies, and are organised in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The strikers have targetted 58 buildings in Houston's downtown and shopping district since the beginning of the campaign on Oct. 23.

In the past few days, some of the strikers have travelled to other cities seeking support from fellow janitors, holding protests outside buildings and hoping to bring their struggle to national attention. Last night saw a solidarity protest by janitors at the Century City building in L.A., who are paid more than double the amount received by their colleagues in Houston.

One LA SEIU member said "Houston janitors do the same work as we do. They need us now, and we'll be there for them. We'll fight for as long as it takes because what happens in Houston affects us all." Janitors in L.A. have health insurance and full-time contracts, whilst those in Houston are mostly given part-time hours.

Simultaneous protests are due to be held in Houston, Chicago, L.A., Sacremento and Washington D.C. on Nov 8. For more information see houstonjanitors.org