Saturday afternoon hundreds of Houston janitors marched through the Galleria demanding higher pay and better benefits. The men and woman say they are the secret to boosting the economy.
Members of the local Service Employees International Union are grateful for the salary increase they won during tough negotiations in 2006. The union is a multi-state group that helps workers in several fields, including janitors, increase wages, secure health care benefits and full time work.
They now have health care benefits and their wages have nearly doubled. Today they earn $7.75 an hour, but that contract is set to expire. At the end of the month union leaders are scheduled to negotiate a new contract.
“We are going to be asking for an increase. There is no doubt about that,” said union spokesperson Laura Garza Saturday’s march is a sign the union plans aggressively negotiate for better wages. Since their current contract was signed in 2006 a lot has changed. Texas unemployment has more than doubled and businesses are suffering. Those facts don’t seem to scare union members like Elena Delgado.
“Nervous? We seem more like excited,” said Delgado as she prepared to march.
Delgado says the pay increase will help her spend more money and help local businesses.
“We are part of the economy,” said Delgado.
By: Duarte Geraldino