Houston janitors strike over wages, reach settlement for increase
Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012 20:08
A four-week-long stand-off between the people who keep the offices of downtown Houston clean and their employers has ended. The janitor’s strike that began in July reached a conclusion on Aug. 11 after a new contract was signed to increase workers’ wages by $1 per hour over the next four years, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The strike, which included more than 3,000 janitors, was organized by the Service Employees International Union Local 1 chapter, which represents approximately 50,000 security workers, food service workers, and janitors in Texas and the Midwest, according to SEIU Local 1 Communications Specialist Izabela Miltko. Miltko also said that SEIU represents more than 1.8 million workers nationwide.
Miltko said that all of the Houston janitors who went on strike were members of SEIU Local 1 and that the majority of these janitors work for contracting companies that provide cleaning services to large corporations like Chase, Wells Fargo, Chevron and ExxonMobil.
The strike originally began on a smaller scale when a group of janitors felt threatened by their employers after standing up for their wages upon contract renewal and went on strike for one day. After a series of smaller strikes failed to prompt action, SEIU Local 1 called for a citywide strike, forming a campaign that took on the name “Houston Needs a Raise,” according to an SEIU fact sheet.
No Rice University employees were involved in the strike, and Rice’s Facilities, Engineering and Planning department declined to comment on the issue.
Brown College senior Ryan Koehn said that he was aware of the janitors’ strike this summer.
“I was working at Chevron this summer in Houston, and I remember seeing protesters