Common Dreams has reposted an article by Greg Kaufmann of The Nation who is reporting on growing janitor’s strike in Houston. The average annual salary for janitors in the city is less than $9,000. Since the hourly rate is $8.35 an hour, it follows that most janitors are working part-time, probably with no benefits. The janitors have asked for a wage of $10 an hour to be phased in over three years. Management has counter-offered a .50 raise.
Kaufmann profiles Alice McAfee who spoke at a strike event. He uses her words and describes the kind of work she does to make us realize how hard janitors work. Since joining the union, McAfee’s workload has been increased and her hours cut.
Last week I wrote about the one-day CEO of Duke Energy, who is slated to earn as much as $44 million compensation. When that story is compared with hard-working people who are paid so little, we have look in the mirror and ask: What kind of work do we value in this country? Is it all about rewarding those who already get the greatest rewards?
The union janitors of Houston are demonstrating the true spirit of freedom. May their courage inspire others to stand up for their rights as workers and as human beings.