War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Justice for Janitors

It is a beautiful day today in Portland, and I just got back from the Justice for Janitors/SEIU rally and march that took place at noon.

The turnout for the rally was good, although I certainly always wish that more people would represent. Jim Francesconi made a short statement at the beginning, which was good of him, even if he does have a face like a lizard.

The march wound through downtown from Terry Schrunk Plaza, up to the park blocks above the Fox Tower, which was one of the two main targets of the day.

Fox Tower, which is owned by big time Portland developer Bill Moyer, houses some of the most upscale retail and office space in the downtown area. Its retail cornerstones are a huge Banana Republic store, (you know how much that shit costs) and Regal Cinemas' Fox Tower theatre - an upscale art house multiplex that sells out shows every weekend. And yet this building does not want to give fair wages, and health benefits to their janitors. Keep that in mind next time you think about going to see a movie there, and if your planning to shop at Banana Republic - DON'T, for lots of reasons...

The other stop of the day was One Main Plaza, which as I understood it, had union janitors, but then dropped them in favor of a cheaper non-unionized janitorial firm. At 1 Main the most memorable event of the march took place when we all packed into the large downstairs lobby, and formed a circle - drumming, dancing, and chanting our way around the room.

At the conclusion of the march, in the park blocks, a few more people spoke, highlighting the main points of the day, which were fair wages, health care, and unionization for janitors in Portland. A seemingly simple request - for building owners in Portland's richest high rise developments - which would make all the difference in the lives of hardworking janitors and their children.

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