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Protesting Janitors Treated Unfairly by HPD

Protesting Janitors Treated Unfairly by HPD
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By: Erin Dyer

On Thursday, June 14, more than 450 people congregated in Downtown Houston for a peaceful protest. Most of these protestors that gathered are the men and women who mop the floors, take out the trash, sanitize restrooms, and do the dirty clean-up work at corporations such as JP Morgan Chase, Marathon Oil, KBR, Shell, Continental, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, El Paso, and CenterPoint Energy. Forbes Magazine ranks Houston as America’s fastest growing Millionaire city– this means its millionaire growth rate is higher than that of the New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. There are currently 96,700 millionaires in Houston. With this being said, why is it allowed for our hard-working janitors to get such low salaries (most earn less than $9,000 per year) when they are literally mopping the dirty floors of Houston’s largest corporations?

This question is exactly what the janitors want to address. More than 3,200 Houston janitors are affected by these low wages, and they set out to protest for a change in treatment and an increase in salary. During this peaceful protest that included marching the streets of Downtown Houston and holding banners, one janitor was knocked over by a HPD horse in front of JP Morgan Chase Bank. When Leticia Salcedo saw the fallen man, she tried to help him by pulling him back up. HPD then turned and arrested her, and threw her in jail (see attached youtube video for footage).

The way HPD treated the protesters was uncalled for– the police are supposed to be protecting us as citizens of Houston and protecting our rights, not letting their horses trample people and make random arrests. Things like this should not be the image painted on the city of Houston. Houston is better than this. The way these janitors were treated, however, is not going to stop them from fighting for their rights. From an economic perspective, what the janitors are asking for is not unreasonable and not fair, considering it would take each janitor more than a hundred years to make as much money as JP Morgan Chase Bank makes in a single hour. Now that’s something to think about.

Youtube video: Houston Police Trample And Arrest Peaceful Protestors