Janitors March in Century City

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/06/OlgaMoralesSmile-thumb.jpgMeet Olga Morales, one of over a thousand Los Angeles janitors who marched for fair wages, access to affordable health care, and a chance to achieve the American Dream today in Century City. Claiming to have been fired from Pegasus Building Services because she joined the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Olga explained, “I’m a cancer patient, I don’t have no medicine, I don’t have no nothing.” She went on to describe her current crisis: “Me and my son were fired because we joined the union, so I’m probably going to be evicted from my apartment. We don’t have no income right now.” Olga told me that she hopes they win, because she needs her medicine. More info and tons of pics after the jump.

From the SEIU press releases: “The event brings largely immigrant janitors back to the site where peacefully demonstrating janitors and their supporters were savagely beat by members of the LAPD in 1990, the tragic events that sparked ‘International Justice for Janitors Day.’ The Century City demonstration is one of four taking place across the state, with thousands of janitors and property service workers also marching in Orange County, San Diego, Palo Alto, Calif. — as well as Houston, Chicago, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and cities around the world.

In 2008, 20,000 low-wage janitors, members of SEIU, will be negotiating a new contract to win decent wages, a better future for their children, including over seven thousand in Los Angeles. Pegasus Building Services employees apparently earn just over $1300 a month and have no access to affordable health benefits. You can call Pegasus Building Services and tell them that hard-working families in Los Angeles deserve better:

Judith Becker, Pegasus Building Services: (562) 961-1998

The march was well organized and peaceful. Protesters arrived in yellow school busses, rallied, and then marched.











17 thoughts on “Janitors March in Century City”

  1. Out aside the emotional side of this, a business doesn’t have to work with a union. I can throw a few barbs from both points of view, but at the end of the day they need to stop and determine if the got further ahead. CA is a right to work state so even if there is a union involved its powers are significantly cut as they have plenty of employees who will gladly work, even minimum wage jobs without the benefit of a union as its means more in their pocket.
    I wish them well in their protest but its not going to get them anything in the short term. I think the better option for them is to work with legislators to get the appropriate living wages in place etc.,.

  2. Once again, as with the May Day incident, you’re entirely wrong. Factually wrong: California is not a “right to work” state (thank God), so businesses do have to work with certified unions. That’s not to say that they have to give the unions whatever they ask for, but they do have to bargain.

  3. yup…my error I was thinking of my days in NV. Doesn’t change that unions are pretty ineffective.

  4. If they’re so “ineffective,” quit worrying about them. (Oh, I know, I know…you just happen to be dripping with concern for the workers, just like every other anti-union person out there.)

  5. You are entertaining and make some big leaps, I’m not anti-union just they have lost their effectiveness and purpose. They are too much like a corporation, they take money from their members and by the time administrative costs are taken precious little makes it back to the worker.

  6. Yeah, Daniel, the unions did such a great job on behalf of the grocery workers a few years ago… not. The only unions that seem to have their act together are the Hollywood guilds and unions. The rest are a joke.

  7. Let me just chime in to say that the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) union — of which I’m a member — is not much better.

  8. Frazgo, you seem like a nice guy, but you also speak out of your ass with abundant frequency. For once it might make sense to think a response through before posting it, rather than make assertions that are either A) incorrect (see above) or B) tired stereotypes (ditto). The SEIU of 2007 can hardly be considered the same entity as the old-style and oft-misguided unions of the past couple decades, especially with the growing number of recent immigrant rank-and-file. Do some research before trotting out boring-ass blanket statements, maybe?

  9. Thanks James. Glad you follow what I have to say and obviously I’ve done my job if you have to respond.

    This union like so many others has a few getting wealthy off the backs of its members. If they were truly care about making the members lives better they have several options. First reduce their personal salary, or better elminate it, make it volunteer only and funnel that money back to their members in the form of health plans. Oddly SEIU has its records pretty well sealed from public view in terms of what they are taking in vs spending on their members.

  10. Frazgo, c’mon. Let’s be adults about this. You’re clearly coming at this from an anti-union ideological position, rather than looking at the facts. That is fine, but let’s just not confuse the two.

    If we take the LA Janitors as an example, most union janitors in LA make $11-$12/hour with full family medical benefits. Most Non-Union janitors make at or close to minimum wage and no health care. To say that SEIU isn’t benefiting its members (or to say that the kind of improvements mentioned above could be accomplished with a volunteer staff) is just laughable.

  11. Gee Kevin, thanks for responding. I’m glad I have your attention as well. I’m looking at facts and come to a different conclusion. You have no idea what my position in the matter is and as long as I make you or someone else look at everything out there to make your own opion I’ve fulfilled my mission.

    Stereotypes got there for a reason, how someone deals with it to meet new goals is whats important. SEIU in my not so humble and often bold opinion is not serving is members and reviewing their own material they are jumping on causes to further increase their membership for their own benefit.

  12. I don’t get it. You say, “SEIU…is not serving is members” But, in the last post, I made some very specific factual statements about how they are. You haven’t contradicted those in any way.

    No one is getting rich off being a janitor in LA, but I’m not sure how you can argue that the difference between minimum wage and $11-$12/hour and the difference between no health insurance and health insurance for janitors and their families is not a benefit for the members.

  13. Kevin, why should I go tit-for-tat? You raise points that really don’t need further comment.

  14. The point that union janitors make substantially higher wages than non-union janitors is a “[point] that [doesn’t] need further comment”? It seems pretty salient, and it directly contradicts your assertion that unions are ineffective and don’t do much for their members.

    So, yes, I’d say that it calls for further comment–at least, it does if you actually believe what you are saying, and are not just pulling stuff out of your ass because of some vague grudge that you have with unions (or a particular union?).

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