Janitors continue pressure as negotiations' close draws near

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GUARDIAN PHOTO BY YAEL CHANOFF

As contract negotiations with several employers come to an end August 1, the SEIU Local 87 janitors union has been coming out in force. More than 1,000 rallied in Union Square and marched over the weekend. Today, 500 janitors marched through the financial district.

“If we don’t get no contract, you don’t get no peace,” the crowd chanted as it marched down Market, before turning on First towards Mission. The group periodically stopped to picket intersections.

In negotiations with the city, the Westfield Mall, and Macy’s, janitors risk a significant increase in monthly healthcare costs.

Members have voted to strike if demands are not met.

“Our members clean up after companies that got bailed out, and we’re getting screwed,” said Olga Miranda, president of Local 87.

“We depend on our hands. We work hard for our money, We're not looking for hand-outs.” a union janitor who preferred to be quoted as Elhady said.

“The trash can outside your office? The bathroom? The hallways? No matter how dirty it is, we do it,” Elhady said. “And we’re not given respect.”

After marching, leaders switched from English to Chinese to Spanish to Arabic as they rallied the crowd to continue fighting for health care benefits.

“We clean these buildings, and we’re proud of it,” Miranda said to cheers from the crowd. “Don’t take away my family’s health and welfare.”

Miranda laid out the next few days, telling that if they have not heard that a resolution has been reached by midnight August 1, “it means we have no contract.” However, she said that the strike would not begin immediately Wednesday.

Another action is planned for tomorrow at 2pm.

Comments

Since almost anybody can do that job. Frankly, they are lucky to have health insurance at all.

They should take the deal; at least they have a job.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 6:03 am

Let's just exploit the hell out of everyone without a college degree. "They are lucky to have health insurance" .. and, frankly, they don't deserve it! Let the poor fucks clean my shit and die.

Posted by Born Into Wealth on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 6:34 am

a more marketable, unique and valuable skill?

Er, OK. Nothing stopping you giving some of your salary to a janitor then.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 7:30 am

I don't think that those who do not have marketable, unique and "valuable" skills should be punished.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 7:56 am

punishment?

I'd regard that as benevolence.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 8:20 am

Punishing those whose skills are not in demand with homelessness, lack of access to health care and healthy food is what I oppose.

Everyone has skills, nobody has no skills.

The market does not always value all skills at the level of sustenance at any given time.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 8:40 am

Levels of sustenance have nothing to do with the value of skills.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 9:17 am

These things are rewards:
Christmas bonus
Company car
Corner office
Pizza party
New computer
Fancy dress

These things are not:
The health and safety of you and your family

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 8:31 am

Money will always buy you bigger better stuff which is why we like money, why we get educated, and why we work hard.

Take that away and you end up like Greece where most people sit around drinking wine all day.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 9:18 am

Either we accept our role as debt peons in a work camp or we end up under attack by international finance capital until we accede to their designs on us.

We have many other choices.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 9:37 am

That makes sense, er, I suppose.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 9:53 am

Re: Greece, your comment reflects a monumental ignorance. As a matter of fact, on comparative basis, the average Greek works more hours annually than workers in almost every other European country. Greece has political and economic problems, to be sure, but having an unusual number of chronic wine-drinkers isn't one of them. Of 34 middle- and high-income countries, average working hours in Greece (2032 in 2011) are second only to Mexico (2,250). Here in U.S., the average is a mere 1,787. Data? Google "OECD". And STFU. Your mean-spirited nastiness isn't really appropriate for public display.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 01, 2012 @ 8:02 am

Greeks take less holiday, sickness leave and maternity leave than most other Europeans.

But, hey, don't let facts get in the way of your fervor for sucking off our capitalists' overlords.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 07, 2012 @ 7:05 am

Who the fuck you think you are we work hard your nothing but a bitch talking shit over the internet thinking they are hard

Posted by Guest on Aug. 01, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

What an ignorant thing to say, you low life piece of shit! I hope God strikes your ass with lightning! And when he does, I hope everyone "without a college degree" takes a fat ass shit on your grave!

Posted by Guest on Aug. 08, 2012 @ 12:20 am

And that's true. Unskilled workers can be swapped out with trivial ease. Therefore they don't have much bargaining power. Makes sense to me.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 08, 2012 @ 2:10 am

Years ago, I once said that to my Dad that the place I was working for didn't give me any respect.

He then said this, "you work you get paid that's all you need, you don't pay the bills with respect."

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

I think there is still a basic duty to maintain dignity and try to not be a tool for some else's psychological dysfunction.

That said, I think Robert Heinlein said people demand respect in the inverse proportion to deserving it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 01, 2012 @ 11:20 am

I'm down to my last urinal cake!

Posted by Chromefields on Aug. 01, 2012 @ 10:35 am

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