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Justice for Janitors march

Fleeing the boredom and gravedirt smell of city hall, as they talk about how to make corporate welfare prettier and more acceptable to us all (South Waterfront Project), I stumbled across the Justice for Janitors rally. SEIU shirts and banners dominated the scene, though there were a couple of disgruntled few from the local 140. The crowd looked to number in the 100-200 range, but I'm a bad estimator. The rally started at around 4pm in the South Park Blox (Salmon & Park). It was unpermitted, peaceful and boisterous.
The crowd took the streets, then went into a building ... where, I think, they're refusing to use union janitors. There were drums. It was loud. There was dancing. Information was left behind. And they left. Outside, on the side of the parking structure, three people held a huge banner, at first waving in the wind, then secured. It was SEIU's purple and gold and said, "Got Healthcare?" Very successful banner hang.

There was a notable absence of police presence ... the whole time ... except for at the end when Commander Rosy Sizer, in her best clothes took the streets with the labor protestors. She always seemed a cut above the rest. Kidding aside, she seemed to have come from a meeting and was not in uniform. She walked up the street with the crowd up back to the Park Blox, talking on her walkie talkie and trying to get a handle on the situation. I think, since it was finishing up, she decided just to get a few officers there (not more than 5) and watch it wrap up. Uncanny bit of common sense for the police. Thank you.

The lo-down on Justice for Janitors: It sounds like they've met with some success. SEIU 49 has scored some new contracts with the City, but some buildings are holding out ... and, correct me if i'm wrong ... refusing to use union janitors. Also, the common refrain demanding healthcare implies the fight for jobs with justice is far from over. And there were some disgruntled people from another SEIU Local. From what I recall from talking to Local 140's, they are very, very upset about what they see as machinations by SEIU heavyweight Alice Dale who, they say, negotiated them out of their jobs and is making money on the deal. The people I spoke to about this issue are upset because they lost longtime jobs to a chapter of their own union. Ed, one member of 140 who tried to explain the issue to me, said he'd had that job for a long, long time and has only ever missed one day of work in his lifetime of working. Whatever peoples' opinion of working, he obviously believes in it and values it. He has worked hard, and it's been taken away from him. He said SEIU 49 violated laws to make their deal, and it's currently in court over it. However it works out, hopefully SEIU locals can talk to each other and try to understand the other's positon. All of them seem like really good people.
Where is the outrage? 12.Jul.2003 07:33


Where was and is the outrage over the Portland Public Schools firing all their union janitors to hire cheaper non-union workers? What was fair or just about this? This city that prides itself on being so liberal and having a heart for the working man, is so anti-union, why??

Union Scabs, Local 49,SEIU 24.Sep.2004 13:11

Mike Jones kirkjamest@myway.com

Yes, members of a union can actually be SCABS. As a former Custodian with the Portland Public Schools I can testify to that. In the middle of a wage re-opener clause in our contract. Local 49 of the SEIU was selected to replace local 140 workers (Custodians).. Local 49 SCABS then took our jobs. SEIU actually enabled our employer to contract out our jobs. A "Hand in Glove" operation.. Yes, SEIU is now beating the drums for health benefits. Some of the very benefits that the Custodians had.