Houston janitors avoid strike, reach agreement with cleaning contractors

The new contract includes a big wage increase for over 3,000 janitors.

HOUSTON — Three weeks ago, hundreds of janitors represented by the SEIU Texas union agreed to go on strike if they didn’t receive better pay, hours and benefits. On Friday, an agreement was reached.

“Taking a huge leap forward in trying to get to a livable wage here in, in Houston,” said SEIU Texas President, Elsa Flores.

The new contract includes a big wage increase for over 3,000 janitors. Those who are full-time will be making at least $15 an hour and part-time janitors will make just over $14 an hour.

Flores said the pay increase is the largest since the union was founded.

“In 2006, obviously, they had a pretty huge increase, but we hadn’t seen anything like this in a long time,” Flores said.

Janitors represented by the union are relieved. Maria Zamudio was making $10 an hour.

For the future, I feel happy that we are going to be able to spend more time with our kids and maybe not have to work two jobs,” Zamudio said.

Maria is not the only one who feels that way. Zacarias Tzul too has been working extra jobs and hours to make ends meet.

“I had a part-time job, sometimes I would work extra hours on the weekends to make enough and with this, it will be sufficient enough,” Tzul said.

Tzul said the pay increase will be enough for now.

“It might not be enough yet, but it’s significant. It’s a significant raise for them,” Flores said.

While the increase won’t happen right away, members of the union are proud of the steps taken and said their fight for more can be a sign of hope to others.

“In this moment, workers are saying we need more. It’s not that we want more, we need more and I hope that this shows people what’s achievable and what’s possible if they, work together on it,” Flores said.

Julissa Garza on social media: Facebook | X | Instagram

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