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"We are the face of the health care crisis!" Erma Luna, a Local 1877 janitor, told a crowd of more than 200 gathered at the State Capitol on May 22. Although janitors have employer-paid dependent health care in most of California's major cities, they do not have this benefit in Sacramento. In consequence, the children of janitors in our city are among the 7 million uninsured citizens of California. When they are sick or injured, they go to public health clinics or hospital Emergency rooms. With state budget cuts slashing public services and the high cost of an ER visit, the options for healthcare are diminishing if you are of low income and uninsured. We are facing a healthcare crisis.


  State Senator John Burton gave his support to the janitors at this noontime event. Introduced by Labor leader Bill Camp as "the man who makes things happen" Senator Burton is the author of Senate Bill 2, which would provide employer-based health care for all workers and their families.


  Bill Camp (Central Labor Council) pointing out the many labor unions represented in this crowd. The UFW, ILWU, Carpenters, Machinists, sheet metal workers, Unite (needle trades), Local 1000 (state workers), and Local 250 (healthcare workers) were all here to support the janitors in their contract struggle. Local 1877 staffer Samuel Rodriguez (left) is translating.



"Justice is never given-- it is never handed to you. It is earned, fought for, and won!" California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley emphasized that none of the building owners and cleaning contractors in the cities that now provide healthcare for janitors and their families had initially wanted to provide it---"it was earned, fought for, and won!" In Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and recently San Jose, Local 1877 janitors have healthcare for their families. Why not here in the State capital?



  Bill Camp (Central Labor Council) pointing to a victorious Union future.


  A march down L Street followed the speeches.


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