12.17.2008

Houston Janitors Help Address Crisis for Thousands of Low-Wage Workers with Groundbreaking New Health Clinic


HOUSTON - SEIU janitors and corporate leaders joined together today to unveil the new Houston Service Workers' Clinic, a groundbreaking labor-business partnership that could provide a model for other cities also struggling with the crisis in health care.

The clinic is a joint project between janitors and responsible business and community leaders - including Cigna Health and Baylor College of Medicine - to make health care more accessible for low-wage workers. It will provide quality, affordable care to more than 5,300 commercial office janitors for only $205 a month per worker - less than one-third of a penny per square foot of rental space in downtown buildings.

Its unveiling comes as thousands of Houston janitors celebrate the anniversary of a month-long strike that put a human face on the city's healthcare crisis.

"Two years ago I stood beside the Mayor and told the world 'Houston won big,'" said Mercedes Herrera, a Houston janitor who helped lead the workers' historic strike. "Today we celebrate another victory for Houston families as we open our health care clinic."

Nearly 46 million Americans don't have health coverage, including one in three Houstonians. As health costs rise year after year, many more Americans risk losing their coverage. Seeking a national solution, SEIU is engaging healthcare workers through Healthcare United, voters through Americans for Health Care, plus business leaders and stakeholders from all walks of life.