Latinos For Texas Blog


Houston janitors and supporters intensify their efforts for good jobs and health care

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The hard-working folks who help keep Houston clean, and their newly formed SEIU union, send in an update on the on-going struggle for decent and comparable pay for Houston’s Janitors. For the latest on the strike and its national implications and supporters, check

Janitors, Community Supporters Intensify Calls on Hines, Chevron, Transwestern, Crescent, and Brookfield Properties to Ensure Good Jobs with Health Care for Houston Families
Janitors’ supporters block intersection of Post Oak and Westheimer in protest of real estate industry’s stance

HOUSTON—Janitors and community supporters intensified their calls on the five economic powerhouses who drive the commercial real estate industry in Houston to ensure good jobs with health insurance for Houston families. The five landlords have the power to settle the 2-week old strike by directing the cleaning contractors they hire to provide the wages, benefits, and work hours janitors need to support their families. Today community supporters protested the real estate industry’s failure to ensure good jobs with health care in Houston by engaging in an act of non-violent civil disobedience by closing the intersection of Post Oak and Westheimer in the Galleria area.

José Rios spends five nights a week cleaning six floors of Chevron’s downtown Houston office building. For just $20 a night and no benefits he has to clean and vacuum six floors in just four hours. “Chevron can afford to provide more for workers. It’s very hard for someone my age to do this kind of work but what other choice do I have?” said Rios, 70. As a building owner and office tenant, Chevron controls more real estate in Houston than any other company.

At the Westin Hotel today, while Houston’s commercial real estate elite gathered to discuss ways for the multi-billion dollar industry to increase revenues, janitors and community supporters at the hotel invited representatives of the five companies to take a break from the meeting and resolve the strike.

Building owners and managers negotiate and set rates with the janitorial contractors who keep their buildings clean and employ the janitors. Current janitorial service contracts do not allow for higher wages or health insurance for janitors. The janitors are calling on individual building owners and mangers to direct their contractors to meet the janitors’ proposal of $8.50 per hour, more work hours, and health insurance, and to tell their contractors to bargain in good faith with the union as the law requires.

National, International Support for Houston Janitors

Houston’s janitors are receiving national and international support from other SEIU members, sister unions, and community organizations. SEIU janitors in Los Angeles and Chicago have honored Houston picket lines already this week with janitors in other cities expected to follow suit in the coming days. Next week, Houston picket lines could be set up simultaneously in at least half a dozen cities around the country.

Internationally, there have been delegations by union activists in Mexico City, Moscow, Berlin and London calling on Hines—Houston’s largest landlord—to stop standing in the way of Houston janitors’ efforts to move out of poverty. Similar actions have been held at Chevron-owned gas stations in London and Utrecht, Netherlands. This week and next supportive members of labor unions in nine other countries—England, France, Italy, Argentina, Panama, Brazil, Poland, Germany, and Australia—are planning delegations to properties owned by Hines and Chevron in support of Houston janitors.

For the latest on the strike and its national implications and supporters, check


Justice For Janitors Rally in Houston

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:45 am

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Amber Goodwin writes into tell us that newly formed SEIU Texas union for Houston Janitors is working for health care for low-wage janitors. A cleaning contractor named Professional Janitorial Service (PJS), does not offer health insurance to their workers. Get informed about the situation!

PJS Workers Rally
Wednesday, February 1 2006 2:00pm
Arena Towers, 7322-7324 Southwest Freeway Rte 59S and Fondren

Support PJS Workers! Come to Our Rally, because…
Every Worker Deserves a Chance at the American Dream

Without health coverage, the hard-working janitors who clean buildings have to choose between putting food on the table and a visit to the doctor.

Their employer, cleaning contractor Professional Janitorial Service (PJS), does not offer janitors health insurance—and the low wages PJS pays workers mean even basic medical care is out of reach.

PJS’s stance is the wrong direction for Houston and the wrong prescription for health care in our city.

Support health care for working families in Houston.

Questions? Please contact Amber at (713)907 0008

Amber Goodwin
Houston Justice for Janitors
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
4299 San Felipe Suite 200
Houston, Texas 77027
(713) 907-0008


Immigrants Subsidize Our Health Care

Filed under: — kevin @ 3:36 pm

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The current issue of American Journal of Public Health includes the results from a recent Harvard/Columbia study that turns the conventional wisdom on it’s head: Latino immigrants receive less health care than Anglos and actually end up subsidizing health care for all Americans through payroll taxes, etc.

For the study results go to the Physicians for a National Health-Care Policy website and type in password “Carrasquilo” (case sensitive).

Imagine two different families: a rich, middle-aged couple who go to see specialists several times a year, gets expensive prescriptions covered by their insurance, and pays very little out of pocket vs. a large Latino family who gets free vaccinations for their kids, sporadic dental and doctor visits at community health centers, and who, through lack of regular check-ups are forced to visit the emergency room when an illness gets out of hand.

Now you can see how the study is correct.


Latinos and CHIP Advocacy

Filed under: — kevin @ 1:05 pm

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Via Quorum Report :

Debate expected on House floor on CHIP Advocacy Day

Today is CHIP Advocacy Day at the Capitol. In an op-ed, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) said he would like to see two things happen to greatly improve the CHIP program’s effectiveness. First, that the assets test for eligibility be lifted. Second, extension of the six-month eligibility period.

“Without adequate funds for CHIP, the cost of health care will continue to shift to local communities, and we will continue to see children in this state who are critically ill but have no health coverage at all,” Hinojosa said. “In a state so rich in resources working families should not have to choose between health care for their children or food on their tables.”

Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders have called for the full restoration of CHIP benefits to the 176,000 Texas children who were cut from the program last session. CHIP funding will be debated on the House floor today as the Appropriations Bill comes up for a vote.

“We want CHIP restoration for every eligible child,” said Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. “How can we look a mother in the eye and tell her that her child isn’t good enough to get health coverage.”

For links to Hinojosa’s Op-Ed piece and a press release from the Democrats, follow the link above to the Quorum Report.
Now this is great leadership from Latinos on a moral issue that all Texans care about. Again, let’s see if the Republicans follow.


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