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Just before 2pm on Saturday in downtown PDX three bus loads of local janitors, union organizers and union sympathizers converged upon Pioneer Place Mall to loudly send a message to local bosses that the time has come for local janitors to be given fare wages and proper benefits; the respect and dignity of a living wage.
Waves of purple clad SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members , friends and families, exited the buses, raising proudly above their heads broom sticks and rainbow colored feather dusters, before simultaneously entering the mall from three different locations. Mall security was taken by surprise and the groups, accompanied by bucket banging and a certain mischievous drum corps entered the Mall easily and began to chant and clean!
Shoppers were handed flyers and for the most part responded with encouragement and calls of solidarity. The group soon left the mall and marched, danced, chanted and sang there way to Pioneer Square where they encountered a soft-rock band performing on stage. The band improvised lyrics cheering and saluting the janitors, much to the amazement of many in attendance, before inviting Alice Dale, the president of the SEIU Local 49, to speak. The crowd roared optimistically and the feelings of solidarity and hope for the oncoming struggle could be seen on the smiling faces in the crowd. Stepping back from the crowd one could feel a mighty force beginning to realize it's power, Union Power!

For more information about the SEIU Local 49 visit their website: www.seiu49.org
Go Janitors! 27.Apr.2003 16:48


I happened to be walking through downtown when this was going on. I heard the noise first and wandered to the square, where I saw folks with brightly colored brooms and mops help aloft and swaying to the music. Yeh! Who could pass that up. So I stopped and admired the strength and spirit of workers united. It's a beautiful sight. Si Se Puede!