Union victory in the South

John Dimsdale Nov 21, 2006
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Union victory in the South

John Dimsdale Nov 21, 2006
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SCOTT JAGOW: 5,300 janitors who were on strike in Houston have agreed to go back to work. It’s the janitors’ first citywide contract since they formed a union a year ago. As John Dimsdale reports, this is a rare labor victory in the traditionally non-union South.


JOHN DIMSDALE: Those on the bottom rungs of the income scale will see their salaries more than double over two years. They’ll also be able to work more hours, be paid for holidays and earn health insurance benefits for the first time.

Stephen Lerner, the director of the Janitors for Justice Campaign, says it’s more than just a coincidence this strike was settled right after the midterm elections.

STEPHEN LERNER: People sense there’s been a shift in the country. I think there’s a feeling something is wrong when you can work and do a dirty difficult job and you literally only make $20 a day.

The wage and benefit deal for Houston’s cleaning crews follows similar union contracts for janitors in Los Angeles and Miami.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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