Deacon Leonard Lockett appeals to City Council on behalf of janitors

July 27, 2012

On July 24, Deacon Leonard Lockett of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston delivered a passionate appeal to the members of Houston's City Council on behalf of Houston's janitors, who several weeks ago, decided to stand up for a better life for their families, and demand a fair wage.

Deacon Lockett began his appeal by stating "I am here to address a matter of human dignity and social justice facing the present and future state of our beloved city."

Deacon Leonard LockettHe went on to say that "Forbes Magazine recently ranked Houston as America's 'No. 1 Millionaire City.' Corporate profits are rising and CEOs benefits are escalating. In an economy as healthy as ours, one would agree that all working people in our city should be paid a fair and family-sustainable wage. However, our City's prosperity, graced upon all of us by our Creator, has not exactly made its way to many in our working classes."

He cited the statistics showing that Houston's poverty and food insecurity has risen steadily in the last four years, and not because families are not working.

"(Houston's) janitors are paid less than $9,000 a year, less than half the poverty level," said Deacon Lockett. The janitors are requesting an hourly increase in wages over the next three years that would raise their salaries to $12,000 a year. And while janitors are fighting for a small increase in wages, Houston-based Fortune 500 companies saw their profits increase 30 percentin the past year.

Deacon Lockett concluded his appeal by asking the City's elected servants to urge building owners to "ensure a fair agreement is reached with their janitors. Tell them it's time to show leadership and do what is just and right for their workers, our communities, and our economy. They have the ability, obligation and responsibility to continue to make Houston a world-class city where everyone has the opportunity to prosper."

Deacon Lockett serves at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and is Vicar for Catholics of African Descent for the Archdiocese. To view Deacon Lockett's full address, click here.