The contract between Service Employees International Union and five janitorial companies expires November 20th.Î¾ The union represents some 3,200 janitors in Houston.Î¾ Beverly Ortiz is with the union.Î¾
"You know what, what we're looking for is a contract that brings justice to all parties, right?Î¾ And so we're looking for the cleaning contractors, the workers and the community.Î¾ So here's the things that we're proposing: wage increases, because so many Houstonians are having trouble feeding their families.Î¾ We're proposing easier access to healthcare because the healthcare crisis, we know, is hurting everyone right now in Houston.Î¾ And we're proposing guaranteed increased hours, because the economy needs stable jobs that are full-time jobs.Î¾ So those are the main components that we're looking at."Î¾Î¾
Building owners could cite the economy and fewer tenants in their counter-arguments.Î¾ SEIU led a month-long strike three years ago that blocked traffic in Houston intersections, leading to the three-year agreement that is about to expire.
"We improved on wages.Î¾ You know, we went from $5.15 to $7.75 now.Î¾ We improved hours from four to six hours in most buildings.Î¾ And then we, you know, the clinic--the clinic that has been opened that the janitors can go to and see a doctor any, you know, every day that they want to, to be able to be a lot better.Î¾ And respect, as well.Î¾ You know, there was a lot of stuff going on in the job sites that was not acceptable.Î¾ So all of these things were gains that we had the first time around."Î¾Î¾Î¾Î¾Î¾
The union is negotiating with ABM Industries, GCA Services Group, ISS Group, Pritchard Industries and Aztec Facilities Services—five companies that make up almost three-fourths of the commercial cleaning market in Houston.Î¾
Ed Mayberry, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.