Target: CEOs of Houston’s 15 largest companies
Goal: Pay the janitors who clean your buildings a living wage.
Following JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s recent testimony regarding his company’s massive banking losses, he was confronted by a janitor at one of JP Morgan’s Houston buildings. 37-year-old Adriana Vasquez, a single mother of three, asked him, “Despite making billions last year, why do you deny the people cleaning your buildings a living wage?” Dimon evaded the question and told her to call his office. Houston, America’s “#1 Millionaire City,” has the highest number of workers earning the federal minimum wage or less, and is tied with Mississippi for having the highest percentage of minimum wage workers. Everyone deserves to earn a living wage, and none more so than janitors.
Vasquez and 3,000 other Houston janitors currently make $8.35 an hour and around $8,684 a year cleaning the buildings of some of the most powerful companies in the world. Vasquez’s work is grueling—she is only given 5 hours to clean 24 bathrooms on 11 floors—a job she describes as a marathon. The janitors asked for a modest raise to $10 an hour, phased in over 3 years, but the cleaning contractors came back with a mere $0.50 cent per hour pay raise, phased in over 5 years, a downright insulting retort.
Houston has been dubbed the “City of Millionaires” as it has added more millionaires to its population than any other city in the country. In 2011, Houston’s 15 largest employers reaped over $178 billion in profits last year, more than a 50 percent increase over the previous year. Yet the average worker’s earnings have remained stagnant or fallen behind. In fact, 1 in 5 workers in Houston make less than $10 an hour.
The companies who reaped billions in profits last year can surely afford a modest wage increase for their janitors. Vasquez and her colleagues deserve a living wage, a small sign of respect for their willingness to do the jobs that most employees occupying the buildings they clean would never do themselves. Demand a living wage for janitors in Houston.
Dear CEOs of Houston’s largest 15 companies,
Your janitors do backbreaking work to keep your buildings clean for you, and receive little recognition for their efforts. Your companies reaped a combined $178 billion in profits last year, yet the average Houston worker has seen his wages remain stagnant or even decrease. It is time to show some respect for the work you would decline to do yourselves by granting your janitors a living wage.
Adriana Vasquez, a single mom of 3, is just one of more than 3,000 janitors who clean your buildings. She and other janitors make just $8.35 an hour and around $8,684 a year cleaning your buildings. Vasquez’s work is grueling—she is only given 5 hours to clean 24 bathrooms on 11 floors—a job she describes as a marathon. The janitors asked for a modest raise to $10 an hour, phased in over 3 years, but the cleaning contractors came back with a mere $0.50 cent per hour pay raise, phased in over 5 years. It is high time you stepped in and offered a true wage increase, not some ridiculous joke of an offer.
Surely you can afford a modest $10 an hour raise phased in over 3 years, considering your profit margins. Please grant these workers some dignity by raising their wages immediately.
[Your Name Here]