Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A high-profile Houston win for 'invisible' janitors

HOUSTON — In a major step for labor in this right-to-work city, striking janitors reached an agreement with five major cleaning companies Monday on a contract that guarantees the workers higher wages, more work hours and medical benefits.About 1,700 janitors walked off the job Oct. 23 after talks broke down, and have staged high-profile demonstrations in a city unaccustomed to noisy displays of civil disobedience. Strikers dragged garbage cans and trash bags into a busy intersection, then handcuffed themselves to each other and the cans. In another action, they pushed trash bins, mop buckets and brooms through downtown Houston during rush hour.The janitors make an average of $5.15 an hour, half the wage of their counterparts in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
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