Here is a union press release regarding the JP Morgan Chase and congressional hearings that got too little attention in the National Press (corrected attribution)
June 19, 2012 at 9.30 AM
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: June 19, 2012 at 9.30 AM
CONTACT: Christopher Nulty, 202.538.1059
Janitors Who Clean JP Morgan Chase Offices Challenge’s Dimon’s Leadership
Janitor Will Ask CEO to “Walk a Day in My Shoes”
WASHINGTON, DC – Tomorrow, as JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifies in front of the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Committee regarding his company’s recent massive banking loss, Adriana Vasquez, a janitor who cleans the JP Morgan Chase tower in Houston, Texas will attend the committee hearing with the hope of asking Dimon a simple question: How could a company that made more than $19 billion in profits last year not ensure that the janitors cleaning their buildings earn a decent wage?
Janitors in Houston make just $9,000 annually and have been offered only a $.50 raise over the next five years. JP Morgan Chase is a major player in the real estate industry nationwide, including in Houston where more than 3,000 janitors have voted to authorize their bargaining committee to strike.
The contrast of Jamie Dimon – one the richest men in the United States and the 12th highest paid CEO in the country – and the janitors who clean his building – many make as little as $9,000 a year— poignantly illustrates both what’s wrong with the economy and the growing gap between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of us. A Houston janitor would have to work more than 2,500 years in order to earn JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon earned last year.
Houston has been named the nation’s “#1Millionaire City” for annual growth in millionaires. Last year, the city’s 15 largest employers reaped more than $178 billion in profits in 2011 – a more than 50% increase over the previous year. Despite this, Texas is tied with Mississippi for the highest proportion of minimum wage jobs in the nation. In the wake of huge profit margins, working Houstonians’ wages have remained stagnant or fallen behind – in fact, one in five people working in Houston, cooks, cashiers, janitors, baggage porters, and security guards, make less than$10 per hour.
DATA DRIVEN VIEW POINT: A person making $9,000 per year for full-time employment would be working below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hours. A person earning minimum wage should make about $15,000 per year. A poverty wage for two adults with a child in Huston county is anything below $16,245 a year. It is possible that janitor wages are so low because they are not hired full-time, in which case they may not have any benefits either (I will check with the author of the above press release). But even so, Houston, we have a problem. For a janitor and one child to live self-sufficiently without any taxpayer supported or subsidized programs he or she would need to earn $28,163 in Huston, Texas. This amount is a living wage in that part of our nation. To the extent that JP Morgan Chase fails to meet this financial commitment to it's employees, the burden falls on tax payers in the form of subsidized housing, food stamps, emergency medical care and the like. Subsidizing a wealthy corporations work force amounts to providing corporate subsidies so that JP Morgan Chase can post a $19,000,000,000.00 profit last year. Janitors provide an essential service, without which corporate buildings would quickly become uninhabitable. Pay people what they need to live self-sufficiently and you reduce the tax burden, increase consumer spending, greatly improve the overall economy, create stronge communities and end up with a much happier, healthier country. For more on a living wage, go to A Living Wage - Has It's Time Arrived? And to see how we jumped the rails on wages in this country, see A Fair Wage for a Day's Work.
Here is how things are in Huston Texas:
LIVING WAGE CALCULATOR - HOUSTON, TEXAS