Groups Call for End to Poverty-Wage Jobs in America's #1 Millionaire CityPR Newswire
SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) to Speak at Rally
HOUSTON, June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --On Thursday, organizations from around Houston are expected to stage a "Poverty Line District March" through the city's exclusive, high-rent Sky Line district led by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International Secretary-Treasurer and longtime immigrant-rights leader, Eliseo Medina and including Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). The march will include rallies and stops at Centerpoint Energy, Chase and Shell, three companies which collectively made more than $59 billion in profit last year. Meanwhile, the tenants in just a four block radius of these three buildings made some $112 billion in 2011 alone.
The march comes just fourteen days after more than 3000 Houston janitors voted to authorize their bargaining committee to strike, if necessary, and a week of escalating actions across the city, including unfair labor practice strikes
Houston has been named the nation's "#1 Millionaire City" for annual growth in millionaires. Last year, the city's 15 largest employers reaped more than $178 billion in profits in 2011 a more than 50% increase over the previous year. Despite this, Texas is tied with Mississippi for the highest proportion of minimum wage jobs in the nation. In the wake of huge profit margins, working Houstonians' wages have remained stagnant or fallen behind in fact, one in five people working in Houston, cooks, cashiers, janitors, baggage porters, and security guards, make less than $10 per hour.
But Thursday's action is not just about Houston. The growing income gap in this country become a national political issue facing elected leaders as the electorate focuses on the demise of the middle class and the role of big corporations such as Shell, Wells Fargo, Exxon, JP Morgan Chase, and others in our communities. While working people in Houston and across this country continue to pay their fair share of taxes, big corporations and especially commercial real estate companies have continued to avoid paying their fair share despite record profits.
The decision of Houston janitors to authorize a strike comes at a critical moments amidst a year-long campaign in which janitors from across the country have been working together to raise standards in their communities as contracts of more than 150,000 janitors in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and in other large cities expire. Janitorial contractors in Houston have reacted by interfering with janitors' federally protected rights. In an act of solidarity, janitors across the country will do a 'sticker up', demanding decent wages for their Houston counterparts.
WHEN: Thursday, June 14, 4.30 p.m.
WHERE: Meet at Tranquility Park, march through Skyline District, Houston, Texas including Centerpoint (1111 Louisiana), Chase Center and Tower (600 and 601 Travis) and One and Two Shell Plaza (777 Walker and 910 Louisiana)
WHO: Eliseo Medina, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Sissy Farethold, Former State Legislator; Tom Ballanoff, SEIU Local 1 President; Elsa Caballero, SEIU Local 1 TX Director; Faith Leaders; SEIU Local 1; Texas Organizing Project; Mi Familia Vota; HOPE; Move On; Houston Interfaith Worker Justice; Good Jobs Great Houston; and other community organizations
VISUAL: Hundreds of protesters with colorful banners, yellow flags and enlarged photos of workers.
With 2.1 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.
SOURCE Service Employees International Union