Thursday, November 23, 2006

Small Victory for Latinos in Houston

Baby steps, baby steps are a start.

Latinos in Harris County Texas won a victory on Monday when five major cleaning companies caved in and agreed to a new contract that raised their pitiful wages and offered health care.

The Houston Chronicle reports:
After weeks of marching on downtown streets, blocking traffic at busy intersections and subjecting dozens of union members to arrest, 5,300 janitors who make on average $5.30 an hour, will be paid $6.25 an hour come Jan. 1. By the end of the three-year contract, janitors will be up to $7.75 an hour and work longer days.
"No one thought that a group of poor Latinos from Houston would be able to win anything, but today we can lift our heads up very high," one of the striking janitors told a crowd of about 2,000 supporters in Spanish.

This is really pathetic. These poor janitors had to fight tooth and nail for subsistence wages that more than likely will be law of the land in the 210th Congress after Democrats take over.

No doubt, national bad press and immediate future prospects had more than a little something-something to do with corporate bigwigs' caving in and doing the right thing by increasing the disgraceful low wages of the poor janitors.

One major victory for the cleaning crews is that the new contract finally addresses their previous lack of health care. Starting Jan. 1, 2009, janitors will be able to purchase individual health care for $20 a month and family coverage for $175 a month.

The new contract also guarantees more hours of work. Many only work four hours a shift; the new contract calls for a minimum of six hours a night within the next two years.

¡Sí Se puede!

H/T to Brown Pride.

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