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Protestors arrested in ongoing strike over janitor wages

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Protestors were arrested Tuesday during a march in the name of Houston janitors. It's the latest in an ongoing strike for higher wages.

The janitors promised civil disobedience and that's exactly what happened. Several people were arrested, but their message is slowly getting through.

They marched, chanted and were determined to make a point. Striking Houston janitors and their supporters walked through parts of downtown Houston before making their way inside One Allen Center.

Once in, the janitors threw flyers through the lobby before several sat down in an act of civil disobedience, refusing to leave until they were arrested.

"The Houston janitors are making about $9,000 a year, not enough survive in Houston or anywhere as a matter of fact," Janitors Organizer Elsa Caballero said.

Also made their voices heard at city hall, where retired Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza spoke on their behalf.

"They are giving four five hours at nighttime, and it's hard work, and they're not paid very much," Fiorenza said.

The janitors want their pay raised up to $10 an hour at the end of a multi-year contract. For now, contracting companies have been unwilling to budge, even though many of Houston's elected leaders have voiced their support.

"I stand in support with them in their efforts," Councilman Ed Gonzlez said.

But some Houstonians were angered by Tuesday's protestors.

"I want to know if these people are legal citizens," one downtown worker said.

Others seemed unimpressed.

"It's an unskilled job. It doesn't really take much, but I understand it's hard work," downtown worker George Carameros said.

But until a settlement is reached, the janitors promise more acts of civil disobedience.

Organizers say they will continue with several instances of civil obedience throughout the Houston area and it will lead to everyone going back to the negotiating table and agree to a contract that builds up to a $10/hour wage.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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