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Janitors Fast To Protest Layoffs

Byline: Rebecca Rona-Tuttle

Yes, they’re hungry!  Yesterday was three days since they'd begun their fast, and they will continue fasting at least through today.

The six janitors, members of SEIU-USWW’s Justice for Janitors movement, haven’t eaten since Monday, in protest against JP Morgan Chase, which laid off 19 SEIU-USWW janitors at its Century Plaza Towers.

As if janitors didn’t have it hard enough already,19 had been laid off and the remaining 57 janitors told to handle the full cleaning services that all 76 had originally performed, despite the 20% staff reduction. 

Nowadays businesses requiring fewer employees to handle the same amount of work has become all too familiar, hasn’t it. And that's part of the point. The union says that these 19 janitors represent many more, and that SEIU is sending a message "industry-wide.")

The janitors are particularly rueful, given the fact that JP Morgan Chase had received many billions of dollars in taxpayer aid and then turned around and handed its bank executives huge bonuses. (SEIU says the bailout was to the tune of $94.7 billion, while another source says $25 billion. Regardless, that's a lot of money!)

Yesterday 13 people were arrested while 300 continued protesting in front of the hotel. With lots of help from the media, Justice for Janitors has successfully used the strike to create growing public awareness of the janitors’ treatment at the hands of JP Morgan Chase. Read this CNBC report.

Liberty Hill has long supported Justice for Janitors, a movement of SEIU-United Service Workers West, which organizes many thousands of janitors seeking good jobs with decent wages, access to quality health care and respect.

Read previous posts on economic justice.
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