They clean your offices, and your streets, yet they can barely make ends meet. Is that fair? Well is this a rhetorical question? It seems fairly obvious.
Yet, the lack of a livable salary is why more than a hundred janitors took to the streets of Boston Thursday, and it wasn’t just for their rights. It was for the rights of janitors across the country.
SEIU Local 615, a property service union that serves the New England area, protested in the Financial District in solidarity with the recent Houston protests. In Houston, janitors are making just $9,000 a year.
It doesn’t make much sense for a person with a family and a career to be making below the poverty line. I’m pretty sure the homeless guy on the corner makes more money per year by just begging for change.
“We’re supporting the fight in Houston, because no one should have to earn so little when they work so hard,” said Zuleyma Burley, a janitor in Downtown Boston. “Like janitors everywhere, our goals are the same-to be able to make ends meet, and raise our families.”
The Houston protests were in response to the abysmal offer of a $.50 raise over five years for workers, after the union suggested a modest raise from $8.35 per hour to $10.00 per hour over four years.
Houston authorities responded by arresting seven on Wednesday, prompting janitors in 17 other cities to protest in solidarity.
What would you do if the people that cleaned your businesses went on strike? Who will take out your trash and clean your windows? Maybe it’s time they got a little reward for their hard work and long hours. Otherwise, our cities are probably going to shit. Literally.