Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

SEIU Janitors Said to “Feel Betrayed”

It looks like the SEIU continues to harass a holdout from the union’s janitorial campaign in Houston. From a press release out today:

June 11, 2007
Justice for Houston Janitors?
The Service Employees International Union Local 5 organizing efforts fall Short
and Janitors Feel Betrayed

Houston – According to a recent article written by nationally syndicated columnist Froma Harrop SEIU represented janitors are making less under the leadership of the SEIU than they were making in the ‘70s. An excerpt from her article:

“And it’s true that recent “victories” in unionizing low-skilled workers have produced paltry gains. For example, the Service Employees International Union managed to organize janitors in Los Angeles, but Briggs notes, “at wages way below what they were back in the 1970s.” The union last year organized janitors in Houston. For all these efforts, this largely Hispanic workforce saw its pay rise from a pitiful $5.25 an hour to a pathetic $6.25 — which is lower than the minimum wage in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Wages in the contract’s later years will barely exceed the new federal minimum.” Houston Chronicle, June 5, 2007

“It is no wonder that the SEIU has to pay staff and professional protestors to attend their so called rallies. Even during their strike against the national janitorial companies there were few, if any, actual janitors in attendance.” says Brent Southwell, PJS of Houston CEO. “The janitors must feel betrayed. The union promised them $10 an hour wages and full health care coverage for themselves and their families. What they got is $ 6.00 per hour starting wage if they work in a “union defined property” and employee only limited health care coverage in 2009 and then only if the employee contributes to covering the cost. There is no employer paid family coverage at all! Many of the janitors working for the national union contractors are still making $5.15 per hour. One has to wonder if some sort of back room deal was made with the SEIU.”

“The union likes to quote that they represent 5,300 janitors but what about the portion of those janitors that work in so called non-union represented properties? Do they really represent their best interest?” asks Floyd Mahanay, PJS President. “Besides paying a higher percentage of our employees higher wages we will continue to work on providing our staff higher benefits and a better working environment which promotes its members based on effort and results. The SEIU is spending their time harassing PJS so as to try and divert attention away from what an awful deal they got the Houston union janitors.”

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