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John and I have recently been discussing ridiculously high paid jobs, which would be gladly snatched from those lucky enough to be doing them, by others eager to fill their shoes for 10% of the salary. We both felt that those doing the jobs no-one wants, should earn a lot more for doing them, while those with covetable jobs should earn a lot less. But life is rarely fair, is it?
The conversation came back to me when I heard the news today about the peaceful demonstration calling for the end of poverty-wage jobs in Houston, Texas, in which a janitor was trampled by a police horse and a colleague who'd gone to the janitor's aid was arrested.
The protestors - many of whom clean local buildings and make just $9000 annually as janitors - were gathered outside of JP Morgan Chase.
"Today, in downtown Houston, hundreds of janitors were joined by allies from across the city in a simple, peaceful exercise of their First Amendment rights," explained Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1, which represents 3,200 Houston Janitors. "Everyday across this country, thousands of workers face the brute force of corporations unwilling to pay fair wages and treat workers with dignity and respect. Right here in Houston, thousands of janitors who clean the offices of some of the country's most profitable corporations are making poverty wages."
I know I've slammed trade union action in the past when it doesn't seem justified or the aims achievable without creating problems for the rest of us, but I do wonder whether organisations such as JP Morgan Chase could perhaps look after their cleaning staff a little better than they do at present, so that living isn't quite as much of a struggle as the job can often be.
More about this story follows further down the page...
21st June 2012