Houston janitors could go on strike if they don't get pay raise they asked for in new contract

Jeff Ehling Image
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Deadline looms for Houston janitors asking $15 an hour in new contract
The average Houston janitor at a private firm makes $10.75 an hour, according to the union representing them. They argue the pay raise is crucial to pay for everyday items.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In less than 24 hours, thousands of janitors in Houston could go on strike Tuesday ahead of their contracts expiring at midnight.

A rally is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at city hall in support of those workers who are asking for a raise. The janitors do not work for the city, but they are the ones who clean the private office buildings around town.

Right now, the average janitor at a private firm in Houston makes $10.75 an hour, according to the Service Employees International Union, which represents the janitors.

The workers want a path to $15 an hour, as they said inflation is crippling their ability to pay for everyday items like food and gas.

SEE RELATED STORY: Houston janitors, with help from Beto O'Rourke, fight for an increase in hourly pay

The current contract for more than 2,800 janitors expires at midnight and workers said it could lead to a strike either right away or in a few days.

This has been an ongoing negotiation. ABC13 spoke to a janitor in April who said his family needs the increase in pay.

"We need that raise because our families need that money. I think it is a good thing to bring everybody together here to see if we can get that, so it's very important," said Efren Montes, a janitor.

On Monday, our partners at the Houston Chronicle spoke to the lawyer representing the janitorial companies. He indicated progress had been made, but there was still more to be discussed.

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