Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Houston Janitors Have Much to be Thankful For

Here's an update about the Houston janitors I mentioned earlier this week from the New York Times:
Houston’s major cleaning companies and the union representing 5,300 janitors there announced a tentative contract yesterday that ends a monthlong strike, raises the workers’ hourly wages by nearly 50 percent over two years and provides them health coverage.

Under the three-year deal, the first for the janitors since they unionized last year, their pay, which now averages $5.25 an hour, will increase to $6.25 on Jan. 1, 2007; to $7.25 on Jan. 1, 2008; and to $7.75 on Jan. 1, 2009.

Further, the employers agreed to increase a janitor’s typical shift to six hours a day, from four. Many of the janitors had said they were being given too few hours of work to support their families. [...]

In addition to the increase in pay, the agreement calls for the janitors to begin receiving individual health coverage, with the workers paying $20 a month in premiums toward it. Family health coverage will become available beginning Jan. 1, 2009, and will cost the workers $175 a month.

The accord also provides for many janitors to have paid days off for the first time. They are to receive six paid holidays and will be able to accrue paid vacation time.
I'm happy for the janitors. They'll still be earning poverty level wages, but they took a stand and gained some ground. Good for them.


Kvatch said...

Hey Kathy...don't really have anything relevant to add. Just wanted to pop by and wish you and your's a Happy Thanksgiving!

abi said...

Union, huh? What a great idea. I wonder why more workers don't form unions.

Lew Scannon said...

This is certainly one job that can't be outsourced to China or Vietnam. Solidarity!

Betty Cracker said...

Good for them!

GraemeAnfinson said...

shows what organizing can do

Libby Spencer said...

Hey Kathy. OMG, it's reallly been exactly a month since I visted anyone on my blogroll. Where have you been? Hope all is well and a joyous and peaceful holiday season to you and yours.