An Open Letter of Thanks from the Houston Janitors to our Allies

Three years ago the janitors made history after a month-long strike which many of you may remember. Since then we have had many trials; some said that the union had only a small chance of surviving to get a second contract, that it’s too difficult to maintain a labor organization representing thousands of low wage janitors in the Right-To-Work South; but today, we defied those odds.

Today, we sent a message that we will not go quietly into the night.

Today, we sent a message that when people of conscience take a stand and fight against those who would oppress and exploit the working poor, that justice can and WILL prevail.

Today, we sent a message that when even the most powerless and dispossessed people are organized, we are strong.

I would personally like to thank each and every person who attended a delegation or rally, those who wrote letters on behalf of the janitors, those who stood with us as we faced powerful business owners, those who wished us well or prayed for the janitors, and those who just kept us in their thoughts.

Today we won a great victory for 3,200 workers and their families, but we know that there are so many more struggles that face our community. If there is one thing that should continue to resound in all of our hearts is this: when we fight, we win. Please know that the Houston janitors maintain a sacred commitment to all communities and movements for justice in Houston; please know that the janitors will stand with you, as you have stood with us.

On behalf of the Houston janitors and SEIU Local 1, thank you.

SI SE PUEDE.

Michael Espinoza

Lead Organizer

Houston Justice for Janitors

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1

4299 San Felipe Suite 200

Houston, Texas 77027

Office: (713) 297-3829

Fax: (713) 514-0008

Cell: (832) 277-3903

From: Crystal Zermeno
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 4:27 PM
Subject: Janitors Reach Tentative Agreement

After two and a half days of negotiations, Houston janitors reached a tentative agreement that includes wage increases and improved benefits for the more than 3,200 Houston workers that keep our city’s office buildings clean every day. The bargaining committee will present details of the agreement to their co-workers for their approval at a ratification vote this Saturday.

“We made huge gains today. We stood together and we won a better future for our families and our city. With this contract, we’re moving closer and closer to having what we need to make ends meet.” – Conchita Blanco, Bargaining Committee

We want to thank all of you and the more than 100 political, faith and community leaders who stood with and supported the janitors’ efforts over these long, hard months. It was with your support, calling on business leaders and building owners to work with the janitors and guarantee a fair contract, that helped lead to this tentative agreement. Thank you for attending marches and rallies, going on delegations and sending letters to building owners demanding good jobs for these hard working families.

Following the presentation to the membership and their vote on Saturday, we will present you with the details of the agreement.

We cannot thank you enough for your support and we look forward to standing side by side, united in the fights that working families all across our city continue to face.

Si se pudo!

Houston Janitors

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