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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

L.A. Janitors Push for Higher Wages

L.A. janitors protest at historic site of union battle.

Hundreds of L.A. janitors marched in Century City Wednesday to demand higher wages, health care coverage, and respect.

L.A. janitors gathered Wednesday to protest low salaries and benefits (Photo courtesy ATVN).
L.A. janitors gathered Wednesday to protest low salaries and benefits (Photo courtesy ATVN).

“I am barely surviving as it is and if they lower my salary it will affect me even more because I would have the money my rent, my insurance and to feed my children and my family,” said worker Jose Peralta.

The movement comes as part of a statewide contract of Service Employees International Union janitors that expires at the end of April. Over 2,500 workers will be affected if the contract is not renewed.

Union representatives say they will strike if an agreement with maintenance companies cannot be met by May 1st.

“The janitors are prepared to strike and the strike will last as long as it takes in order to create the crisis necessary so the property owners respond to the needs,” said SEIU Union representative David Huerta.

The presence of janitors in Century City echoes the landmark 1990 janitor campaign.

SEIU representatives and janitors held a demonstration while baton wielding police officers encompassed the group. When the worker linked arms and crossed over into Century City, many were beat back and 38 were arrested.

Widespread public outcry urged employers to reach an agreement with the SEIU, which resulted in 27 master contracts for service workers throughout California.

The janitors who protested Wednesday hope for the same outcome so they can provided for their family.

"It would affect us real bad. We wouldn't have any money to pay for our medical. My wife, she's already sick so I just wouldn't have no money to pay my bills,” said James Dean

COMMENTS

The reason they are paid low, is because they are in fact lazy. If they weren't so lazy, they would be spending their time looking for better jobs and not hitching their entire lifetime of work on being a janitor.

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