Settlement in janitors’ strike

And just like that, the janitors’ strike is over. Here’s an email from the SEIU that explains where they are:

Hello everyone,

What a difference a day makes! We have reached a tentative agreement for a 3 year contract for janitors.

Wages: $1.15 increase the first year, $1.00 the second year, and $.50 the third year.

Health Care: The third year is when single payer health insurance will kick in and janitors will pay $20 per month into that plan. It is a plan designed and managed by SEIU and we are hoping to get all of our members
nationwide on this plan.

Vacation: Two weeks paid vacation per year

Holidays: 6 paid Holidays

Hours: 1st year everyone must work a minimum of 4 hours a day, 2nd year everyone must work a minimum of 5 hours per day, 3rd year everyone must work a minimum of 6 hours per day.

Protection: We have a grievance procedure in place. We have protection for all of the striking workers to get their jobs back with no discipline, We have a disciplinary proceedure in place so that no one can be illegally fired for no reason any more.

We are going to have a press conference today around 4. More details to come.

Thank you all so much for your help, prayers, support, sacrifice, time, and energy. There are no words to describe how happy we are that we have built a very solid foundation for a janitors union in Houston. These workers leadership and courage has been tested for the past few years but especially over the past month when they were confronted with threats by their supervisors, fear on the streets with a heavy police presence, and the fear and uncertainty that comes with taking a stand in their workplace and walking off the job.

And you all have been tested. I know that many of you have heard a lot from your members, your parishoners, your friends, co-workers and neighbors, not all of it has been positive because what we have done here – especially with utilizing the tactic of non-violent civil disobedience – doesn’t happen very often if ever in Houston. I know that many have criticized us for being from out of town. I know that we’ve blocked traffic which is a big deal here. We’ve pushed the boundaries very far and all the while we hoped that you would stick with us as we challenged the way Houston thinks about workers like the janitors. As tough as it was, it was all worth it. Thank you so much.

The next time someone says that people from out of town can’t come to Houston and tell them what to do, say that we are all Americans and if big companies operating out of Houston can go all over the world to expand their businesses and maximize their profits, then why can’t workers from those cities unite and organize? They work for the same companies and clean buildings owned by the same companies. The next time that someone tells you that we deserved the backlash we received from the police last Friday when 44 people were corralled like cattle by the Houston police on horseback and horribly mistreated by the jailers, tell them that workers in other cities make $12-$20 per hour because workers have been utilizing strikes, protests, and civil disobedience to win rights there for over a hundred years and there’s no reason why workers in Houston deserve any less.

This has been one of the most emotional, physically draining, risky, and chaotic month and it was worth it 110%. We made history and couldn’t have done it without the help from the community. We are looking forward to growing together with you to make Houston a city that rewards and respects hard working people. We are looking forward to continuing to strengthening the power of the people and holding the businesses and elected officials in this city accountable to the community. Most of all, we are looking forward to celebrating!!!! I’ll keep you posted with details on that!

According to Miya, Mayor White “made many phone calls over the past several weeks behind the scenes”. If so, then kudos to him for helping to get this resolved. I’ll post an update after the press conference.

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One Response to Settlement in janitors’ strike

  1. RWB says:

    One post from you and the employers caved in! Feel the power!

    (Just kidding, of course. I think the seriousness of the strikers, combined with the potential PR disaster of the police horses trampling the strikers, probably convinced employers that the cost of settling the strike was lower than the cost of fighting on.)

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