Janitors in San Jose prepare to strike

May 20, 2008 12:00:02 AM PDT
The people who clean the offices of some of the Bay Area's high-tech giants, are getting ready to walk off the job.

The union representing 6,000 janitors could go on-strike as soon as Tuesday morning.

People will be protesting outside of Cisco Systems on Tuesday morning. On Saturday, more than 1,000 workers voted unanimously strike.

It will be an open-ended strike that will start at around 5:00 a.m. and will impact companies like Cisco, Apple, Hewlett Packard and Oracle.

But it won't be just union janitors refusing to cross the picket lines. Members of 299 other unions in the Bay Area like the teamsters and trash and delivery companies will also stay away.

"We've all had enough, we feel this is the only logical step we could take next to actually get their attention, to get our point across," said Google janitor Salvador Campos.

"The rising cost of fuel and housing and food has just forced them over the brink. They're working two or three jobs just to survive, they're losing their houses, and they don't have enough money to put food on the table. They're forced to go on strike to win a better contract and win a better situation for themselves and their families," said Mike Garcia from SEIU Local 1877.

The janitors want a pay raise and better health care benefits. Right now they make $11 an hour on average. Janitors in San Francisco make $17.50 an hour.

It takes two and a half years for worker's families to get health care. Through negotiations, cleaning companies offered a 20 percent increase and wages over four years' time and the union denied that offer.

Replacement janitors are expected at Cisco on Tuesday morning.


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