Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement regarding Renewed Negotiations in Janitors' Strike:
"The Houston area Janitors engaged in negotiations are our neighbors and friends. All they are asking for are fair wages for a fair day of work. I have met senior citizens who are making less $9 and hour. Houston cannot be engaged in denying those that clean major corporate buildings where billions of dollars are made from earning a fair pay. I support the efforts of the janitors to negotiate peacefully, to strike peacefully and to engage in civil disobedience peacefully.
"Houston's economy owes a great deal to the Houston business community for their contributions as successful, innovative, and responsible corporate citizens. Their high quality products and services, as well as your community leadership and philanthropy helps make Houston one of the best cities in the nation to live and work. Accordingly, I am very proud to represent the Houston corporate community in Congress.
"The enduring power of the American Dream is the promise that hard work and perseverance will bring prosperity and a better life for American workers and their families. Unfortunately, for millions of minimum wage workers the American Dream is illusory. In the past few weeks the janitors have made their demands and withheld their labor. I applaud all of those involved in the negotiations because we could not let this dispute stain the soil of economic opportunity and social growth.
"At many junctures in our nation's history, people of good will have courageously and nonviolently refused to cooperate with injustice by engaging in nonviolent protest and civil disobedience. These include the Boston Tea Party, Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad, and the fight for women to gain the right to vote. In 1961, civil rights activists engaged in Freedom Rides to Deep South. These were caravans of African Americans and whites who traveled far and wide to protest Jim Crow segregation. Inspired by the Freedom Riders, janitors from across the country have traveled to Houston to fight injustice by engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience.
"Their cause was just. Houston janitors work hard mopping, dusting, scrubbing, and polishing thousands of offices each and every day. I look forward to working with all sides to develop a successful result in this process. Houston is a major metropolis and cannot be the only city that has not resolved this difference."