National Labor And Political Leaders To Join Hundreds Of Janitors For Labor Day Rally And March

Aug 30, 2012, 12:51 ET from Service Employees International Union

BOSTON, Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a release from the Service Employees International Union:

As the nation celebrates Labor Day, hundreds of Boston area workers will join political leaders such as a Joseph Kennedy III and SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, for a labor day rally on the Boston Common at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September 3rd to call on America's wealthiest corporations to do their share to fix the economy and rebuild the middle class. The march and rally is being sponsored by SEIU Local 615.

The rally will feature New England janitors who are in the midst of a campaign to secure stable, full-time jobs that will take them one step closer to joining the middle class. In 2002, thousands of janitors in Boston and the suburbs waged a very public successful strike that raised wages for workers and in 2007 agreed with contractors to gain more full-time work. The contract for 14,000 local janitors expires on September 30th.

Despite the health of New England's economy, Boston office cleaners earn as little as $56 a day because cleaning contractors offer many janitors only part-time work – as few as four hours of work a day. And rather than offer workers more hours, cleaning contractors are requiring them to work harder. In 2003, when contracted janitor Filipa Ramos started working at the World Trade Center in Boston, she cleaned 10 bathrooms over 3.5 hours. With the shift increase to 4.5 hours, she now cleans 109 offices, 6 conference rooms, kitchens, lobby ways, and the bathrooms. To make matters worse, because the janitors are part-time, the cleaning contractors they work for do not have to offer health insurance, shifting the cost of health insurance from the companies to the taxpayers.

This Labor Day comes as the fall elections swing into high gear, and the country's focus shifts to fixing the broken economy and saving the embattled middle class.  At issue is the deep divide in the country between the wealthiest 1 percent and everyone else.  For the last 30 years, workers in America have been asked to work harder and despite meeting that challenge, wages for American workers have only inched up a slight 7%. At the same time, a thin layer of the corporate elite have seen their wealth rise astronomically, leading to the worst levels of income inequality since the days of the Robber Barons.

VISUAL:  Hundreds of janitors, security officers, airport workers with signs and banners will march from Boston Common to Copley Plaza.

WHEN:  Monday, September 3, 2012 11:00 a.m.  

WHERE:  Boston Common bandstand

WHO:  SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, Congressional candidate Joseph Kennedy, SEIU Local 615 President Rocio Saenz.

SOURCE Service Employees International Union