Janitors call on all low wage workers to “Take Back Millionaire City”
Houston janitors who clean the offices of some of the world’s wealthiest companies unanimously voted today to give their bargaining committee the power to call a strike. Houston janitors also called on working people across the city to stand with them to restore fairness to our economy and good jobs to “Millionaire City.”
“Like many Houstonians, we are working harder and harder and falling further behind. Every day I see my neighborhood crumbling. Everyone says Houston is doing great, but that’s not the reality for many people,” says Sixta Gonzalez, a Houston janitor.
Despite the fact that Houston is home to more millionaires than any other US city, the city’s 3,200 janitors are struggling to raise families on less than $9,000 a year, a salary below half the poverty level. One in five workers in Houston are paid well below the estimated cost of living for a family of three. Janitors and community supporters are calling on cleaning companies, building owners and the richest corporations in the country to do their part and create good middle class jobs for Houston.
“Before we went on strike in 2006, all the odds were against us. The biggest corporations in the world laughed at us. We lived in the shadows. But we showed that ordinary people can achieve amazing things,” says Elena Delgado, a janitor in Downtown Houston.
Despite the Houston commercial real estate market being one of the healthiest in the nation, cleaning companies are currently insisting on a contract provision that could further impoverish thousands of Houston families. Janitors and contractors reached impasse last week, with both parties walking away from the table with no future bargaining dates set. The contract expires May 31st.
The strong “yes” vote to authorize the bargaining committee to call a strike comes as our country is in the midst of massive public protest over the disappearing middle class and increasing income inequality between the richest 1% and the other 99% of the country. While the U.S. economy has grown by more than 80% in the past 30 years, a majority of those gains in wealth have gone to the richest Americans while income for 95 percent of American households has either stayed the same or fallen.
BACKGROUND: In 2006, tired of working in deplorable conditions, more than 3,000 janitors went on strike for a better future for their families with dozens arrested in acts of civil disobedience. The five-week strike captured national attention and the support of religious leaders, elected officials and Houstonians alike, winning the janitors their first union contract.
AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was indicted on two felony counts on Friday by a state grand jury examining his handling of a local district attorney’s drunken driving arrest and the state financing for a public corruption unit under the lawyer’s control.
The indictment was returned late Friday in Austin.
The investigation centered on Mr. Perry’s veto power as governor. His critics asserted that he used that power as leverage to try to get an elected official and influential Democrat — Rosemary Lehmberg, the district attorney in Travis County —...
Manny Fernandez | The New York Times 15 Aug 2014 Hits:287 Texas
Far-right Texas Republicans prospered in the first US primary of the year as it was confirmed that Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott will square off in the battle to be the state’s next governor. Davis parlayed the national celebrity garnered from her epic filibuster last June into a high-profile bid to become Texas’s first Democratic governor in two decades.
On Tuesday night the state senator from Fort Worth comfortably secured her party’s nomination. Texas attorney general Abbott easily won the Republican contest to replace Rick Perry, who is stepping down as...
Tom Dart | The Guardian 05 Mar 2014 Hits:531 Texas
Ted Nugent, the old rocker from the Seventies, is now just plain old… and off his rocker.
A political novelty act for the far right and a front man for the National Rifle Association, Nugent regularly spews venomous, vulgar, race-laced, abusive hate speech about liberals, Democrats, gun laws, and creeping communism. In January, for example, he tongue-lashed President Obama, calling him a "communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel."
So, naturally, this scurrilous lout was promptly invited to come to Texas by the leading Republican candidate for governor. It seems that Greg Abbott, currently...
Jim Hightower | Jim Hightower.com 05 Mar 2014 Hits:306 Texas
A Texas judge has struck down that state's ban on gay marriage.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia did not say gay marriages could be performed immediately. Instead, he stayed the decision, citing a likely appeal.
"Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution," Garcia wrote in his decision. "These Texas laws deny Plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex."
The state's gay marriage ban was challenged by two gay couples -- one seeking to marry in Texas and one seeking to have their marriage, which...
Aaron Blake | The Washington Post 26 Feb 2014 Hits:412 Texas
The Nov. 5 constitutional amendment election is the first statewide election which requires Texans to present a photo ID when they vote in person. Early voting started Oct. 21 and ended Nov. 1. So far, the election has gone smoothly, but there is some bad information brewing about what you may or may not need at the polls, specifically that the name on your approved ID and the name on your voter registration must match exactly. As one county election official put it, that’s just an urban legend.When it comes...
John Steen | Wilson County News 03 Nov 2013 Hits:448 Texas
State Sen. Wendy Davis of Texas will run for governor next year, two Democratic sources familiar with the planning confirmed to CNN.
The Democrat, who gained national fame after her 13-hour filibuster over a controversial abortion bill, was already scheduled to make an announcement about her political future on October 3. But until Thursday it wasn't certain whether she would be running for governor or run for re-election to her state Senate seat. Politico first reported Davis would run for governor.
Wendy Davis: From teen mom to Harvard Law to famous...
Peter Hamby and Ashley Killough | CNN 03 Oct 2013 Hits:551 Texas
The Texas billionaire's foundation has come through with a major gift to the beleaguered women's health provider
Thousands of women have lost access to vital healthcare since Texas dismantled its Medicaid-funded Women’s Health Program in 2011 because Planned Parenthood acted as a service provider under the program. As a result of these cuts, and the persistent targeting of reproductive health clinics by anti-choice lawmakers, many clinics have been forced to close in recent years, leaving Texas women without low- and no-cost options for reproductive healthcare.
Enter: Ross Perot.
The Perot Foundation of Dallas, which was founded...
Katie McDonough | Salon 31 Aug 2013 Hits:1070 Texas
The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that it will challenge Texas’s Voter ID law, saying it violates the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Constitution’s 14th and 15th Amendments.
In a separate case, the Justice Department will also join in a challenge to the state’s GOP-drawn redistricting plans.
The decisions come just weeks after the Supreme Court struck down part of the act that determines which jurisdictions require the Justice Department to approve any electoral changes before they become law. Texas had previously been subject to the so-called “preclearance.”
Justice Department officials...
Aaron Blake | The Washington Post 24 Aug 2013 Hits:582 Texas
In the wake of yesterday's epic fail on transportation funding it looks like state legislators are headed back to Austin for a third month-long special session, and it won't be cheap. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports this morning, each extra month the legislature's in session costs $800,000, bringing the likely toll on taxpayers to $2.4 million.
Much of this could have been avoided, of course. Lawmakers could have done what they're elected to do and finished their business in the spring. Failing that, they could have set aside inflammatory topics...
Eric Nicholson | The Dallas Observer 30 Jul 2013 Hits:720 Texas
The Texas anti-abortion bill, which threatened to close nearly all of the abortion clinics in the state and prompted an 11-hour filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), is dead, The Austin American-Statesman reported.
Lawmakers had to vote on Senate Bill 5 before the special session's end at 12 a.m. local time. However, protesters halted the proceedings 15 to 20 minutes before the roll call could be completed.
The crowd of demonstrators in the capitol cried "Shame! Shame!" when Davis' filibuster was halted by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who ruled that her...
Huffington Post 26 Jun 2013 Hits:751 Texas
On Saturday, as Texas hosted the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, the Texas House passed 12 gun bills to make it even easier to obtain and possess firearms in the state. The onslaught of legislation contains provisions to allow college students to carry handguns in class and to block any theoretical federal bans on assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition. The 12 bills, a veritable goody bag for gun rights advocates, passed easily in the Republican-dominated House.
Texas lawmakers introduced about twice as many gun bills this session as last year, generally...
Aviva Shen | ThinkProgress 06 May 2013 Hits:869 Texas
Texas teachers were up early on the first day of spring break working on their lesson plan. But it wasn't for their students.
The educators need to convince budget-conscious lawmakers that last session's cuts in school funding need to be restored. They hope to put a human face on the problem of overworked classroom teachers and how it's affecting our children.
Montserrat Garibay with the teachers’ group Education Austin says, "Unfortunately many of these legislators have never been in a classroom so educating them is very important to us...
Fred Cantu | KEYE-TV 13 Mar 2013 Hits:1086 Texas
Texas lawmakers are stepping into a debate about whether Austin should require companies to pay a “living wage” to construction workers to qualify for economic development deals.
State Rep. Kenneth Sheets, R-Dallas, said a group of minority contractors told him they would have difficulty paying the $11-an-hour living wage to the laborers they hire, making those contractors less likely to get a piece of the publicly subsidized projects. Sheets filed legislation last month that would bar cities from mandating any wage requirements as part of economic incentive packages, such as the ones...
Tony Plohetski and Marty Toohey | The Statesman 05 Mar 2013 Hits:1012 Texas
Adamantly opposed to expanding Medicaid coverage under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst had seemingly squelched efforts this legislative session to insure an additional 1.1 million low-income Texans under the Affordable Care Act.
But a determined campaign, targeting legislators with public pressure and private persuasion, has kept the issue alive by framing Medicaid expansion as an economic bonanza and tax-relief opportunity that would bring $79 billion in much-needed federal money over 10 years.
The arguments, pitched to Republican ears, have carved out a...
Chuck Lindell | American-Statesman 18 Feb 2013 Hits:1005 Texas
The party is launching a full-scale offensive in the Lone Star with the aim of slowly turning the GOP stronghold into a battleground state
Democrats, bolstered by President Obama’s victory last fall, have now set their sights on a prize even more valuable than the White House: the state of Texas.
The party is launching a full-scale offensive in the Lone Star with the aim of slowly turning the GOP stronghold into a battleground state. According to Politico, a coalition of groups is creating a grassroots...
Laura Gottesdiener | AlterNet 01 Feb 2013 Hits:1172 Texas
This is the kind of story that people look back on after a tragedy and say: Well, that was a bad idea.
The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas…
A bill recently introduced in the Texas state house aims to reward employers who violate Obamacare, offering subsidies to any company that uses religious objection as an excuse for denying…
Registered Nurses, members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Texas/National Nurses United (NNU) -- the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the country, with 185,000…
More than 1,500 Texas nurses won new contracts through their first ever collective bargaining agreement yesterday. They joined National Nurses United, which is the argest union of registered…
A federal court on Tuesday agreed with the Department of Justice that redistricted voter maps in Texas did not comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and that…
A federal appeals court ruled late Tuesday that Texas can cut off funding for Planned Parenthood clinics that provide health services to low-income women before a trial over…
Last week, more than 3,200 janitors in Houston called an end to their five-week strike.
The cleaning contractors initially offered a total wage increase of $.50 an hour phased in over…
Score another victory for the Tea Party.
One-time long-shot candidate Ted Cruz completed his once nearly unthinkable upset Tuesday, winning the runoff for the Republican Senate nomination in Texas over David…
Are you willing to pay more taxes and higher health insurance premiums so Gov. Rick Perry and other Republicans can try to score points against President Obama? Never mind.…
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Legislators Who Have Cut Ties With ALEC