News

SEIU Texas Gets Ready To Negotiate New Working Conditions For Houston’s Janitors

The union says the main goals will be an hourly wage of $15 and sick days.

Janitors who are represented by SEIU Texas held a convention in Houston on April 2nd during which the union honored some of the first janitors who joined it. The union's main goal is to get $15 per hour and sick days.
Janitors who are represented by SEIU Texas held a convention in Houston on April 2nd in which the union honored some of the first janitors who joined it. The union's main goal is to get $15 per hour and sick days.

The Texas chapter of the Service Employees International Union, SEIU, is getting ready to negotiate the new working conditions of 3,500 janitors who clean and maintain Houston's office buildings.

The janitors' current contract was signed in 2012 and it guarantees them a minimum hourly wage of $9.35.

Getting $15 per hour is one of the goals of the union, along with sick days.

"A lot of people are just having to go work sick because if you are surviving week to week, paycheck to paycheck, then you can’t afford to lose a day of work or a couple of days off work," says Paloma Martinez, communications director for SEIU Texas.

These janitors work in office buildings in areas like downtown Houston, The Galleria and the Westchase District.

Julius Getman, a Professor Emeritus of Labor Law at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in the work of unions, thinks one of SEIU's strategies in the negotiation could be putting pressure on the owners of the buildings, for example with a strike, so that they influence the companies that employ the janitors.

"They can apply pressure and say we want you to settle because we don’t want our whole building being struck, which would cause a great inconvenience to many people," notes Getman, in reference to the buildings' owners.

SEIU Texas says the first meetings will probably take place at the end of April.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required

Share