Ellis Statement on Houston Janitors’ Dispute

(Austin)—Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) released the following statement regarding the on-going janitors’ strike in Houston.

“Houston is doing well. Our economy is growing, production is up and we are building more millionaires than any other city in the nation. Yet, at the same time, more and more in our city are sliding into poverty. That is not fair, it is not right, and it is not good for business.

“In one of his fireside chats during the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said that all workers ‘deserve practical protection in the opportunity to use their labor at a return adequate to support them at a decent and constantly rising standard of living, and to accumulate a margin of security against the inevitable vicissitudes of life.’ That is a more elegant and eloquent way of saying Americans who work hard and play by the rules should have a true shot at realizing the American Dream, and not be sentenced to permanent poverty.

“The average janitor in Houston makes less than half the federal poverty level. In last week’s Houston Chronicle, one janitor is quoted as saying: ‘We’re disposable. They discard us just like we were trash, too.’ That’s a tragedy. In Houston and America no one is disposable, and these fellow Texans certainly are not trash.

“The strength of our state and our nation is built upon the recognition that working people and the middle class of this country are what have made our economy strong and sustainable, and are the backbone of our democracy. Ensuring a fair, living wage that reflects the efforts of our labor, not only makes our economy strong, but it protects the core principles of our country.

“I strongly encourage both sides to come back to the table and work to reach a fair agreement in this dispute. One in the spirit of creating a productive business environment that benefits ALL Houstonians. One which ensures all hard-working Houston families have the opportunity to earn an honest living to support their families and move forward.”

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