Adriana Vasquez, a janitor who cleans the JP Morgan Chase tower in Houston who confronted Chase CEO Jamie Dimon by asking him a question at a Capitol Hill hearing last week, continues to be featured in national news outlets today.
The coverage in today’s Washington Post as well as on National Public Radio focused on single working mothers specifically Houstonian janitors who make as little as $9,000 a year, while trying to support their families. The coverage poignantly illustrates both what’s wrong with the economy and the growing gap between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of us.
“[Adriana Vasquez] is a 37-year-old single mother of three working as a janitor in Houston, Tex. She is tasked with cleaning 24 bathrooms on 11 floors of an office building, five hours a day, five days a week. She literally sprints to be able to finish her work on time. For this, she is paid $8.35 an hour, and she and her colleagues average $8,684 per year.” Washington Post.
The Houston Chronicle’s Editorial board also met with Houston’s janitors. The Editorial Notebook: Janitors reflect on their work published on Saturday by the Chronicle, features excerpts from the conversation the board had with janitors Hernan Trujillo and Alice McAfee.
Here is an excerpt on janitors trying to provide for their families, while living in poverty:
Trujillo: “Every single day as a janitor is a struggle, because you don’t know how to fight the despair. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get ahead. It is always about thinking what are you going to do to provide for your family, because it is never enough.”
Faith Leaders held an Interfaith Service today to put an End to Economic Injustice
Houston Civil Rights Leader, Reverend William Lawson led an interfaith prayer service today to end poverty jobs in our city. Lawson, who stood alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, was joined by faith leaders from all over the United States who showed their support for janitors and all Houstonian working families. They held a prayer service at Tranquility Park for good jobs and expressed solidarity with low-wage workers who have been holding daily rallies downtown to call on Houston’s profitable corporations to do their part for our city. Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza opened the service with a powerful prayer. The various faith leaders committed to stand together with workers everywhere to create and support a system of economic fairness for all.
Houston-based Fortune 500 companies are seeing record profits and their CEOs, on average, gave themselves a 50% pay increase last year. Meanwhile, rates of poverty and food insecurity in our city are steadily rising. Working families—including Houston janitors who are paid about $9,000 a year—and community members from all across the city are calling on Houston’s 1% to do their part to create good jobs and pay fair wages to workers.
Hope you keep Houstonian janitors along with all of the working people in Houston in mind.