Today marks our third week of English classes for members and their families.
On March 24th, those who enrolled into the 12-week course gathered at our union office in Houston for assessments of their current levels. Based off of those results, participants were broken up into groups according to their English language ability.
SEIU Texas members are excited about this new opportunity to enhance their skills.
Juana Herrera is a janitor who has been an SEIU Texas member since 2006 and is currently employed by Prichard. A veteran union activist since the early days of the Justice for Janitors campaign which organized janitors in Houston, she says that she became part of the union movement because she and her coworkers had no benefits, vacation time, or labor contract.
“It’s not easy,” she said regarding her time as a union activist. “We the people fight and fight. We’ve been out there in the rain, in the cold. We put up with so much to have our union.”
Juana stated that she’s always dreamed of learning English. “I am a fighter in everything I do. I don’t want to be left behind…I am going to learn it so that I can move forward.” In offering words of encouragement to her classmates, she said “English is something that no one can take from you. Money and material things can go away. But you can’t lose the things that you’ve learned.”
The classes are offered through a partnership between SEIU Texas and the Harris County Department of Education. About 30 students are currently enrolled. SEIU Texas members can call 866-478-0366 for more information.