SEIU members in Houston are as diverse as the city they live in. As janitors, maintenance and food service workers, we service our city’s commercial areas, including the Galleria, Downtown and Westchase districts, and call neighborhoods such as Northside Village, Eastwood, Fifth Ward, and Gulfton home.
In 2006, Houston’s janitors struggled to survive earning $20 a night with no access to affordable healthcare and no voice on the job. The lives of Houston’s janitors stood in stark contrast to the glimmering skyscrapers they were responsible for keeping clean.
Tired of working for poverty wages and deplorable conditions, more than 3,000 janitors went on strike for a better future for their families in November of 2006. The three-week strike captured national attention and the support of religious leaders, elected officials and Houstonians alike, earning the janitors their first union contract.
In collaboration with Houston’s business community, the janitors more than doubled their income through increased wages and working hours. These improvements significantly raised standards for Houston’s service industry, created a path out of poverty for thousands of families and pumped millions into our city’s most neglected communities.
Anishia Anderson of Houston’s IAH tells White House about life on poverty wages
by Tanya Tuzman for Airport Workers United
June 26, 2013
On the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the minimum wage, 20 minimum wage or tipped workers were invited to the White House, including Anishia Anderson of Houston, Texas.
Anishia works as a wheelchair assistant at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas. Anishia has escorted elderly or disabled passengers to their flights and around the airport for the past five years. For her service, she is paid $7.25 an hour, the federally mandated minimum wage.
Despite working full time, Anishia earns about $900 a month, an amount too small to make ends meet and she finds herself facing a growing mountain of debt. Recently, Anishia had no other choice but to put a $3,000 dental bill on the credit card—a bill she does not think she will ever be able to pay off at her current wage. Read More >