Several pastors calling themselves the Indianapolis Clergy Committee said they would get themselves arrested if necessary today in a protest over low pay to janitors working at Downtown office buildings.
"We just feel compelled to use our last resorts in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King and provide a creative tension," said the Rev. C.J. Hawking, national organizer for Interfaith Worker Justice, which is helping organize the protest.
king, in case you missed the connection, was assassinated while in memphis to offer his support for striking afscme workers.
In March, the Service Employees International Union held a Downtown rally to call attention to contract negotiations in Cincinnati.
SEIU has sought to work out a "model" contract with cleaning companies employing several thousand office janitors in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.
those clergy members got arrested after all, as seen in this star photo of catholic priest rev. tom fox getting frisked.
Six clergy members engaging in what they described as civil disobedience were arrested today at a Downtown office building where they were protesting what they said were the "poverty wages" being paid to janitors who clean the building.
The clergy blocked the main entrance to the Market Tower, 10 W. Market St., by sitting in front of its revolving doors and crowding an area in front of escalators. About 40 protesters who followed them in a march from Christ Church Cathedral dispersed after police issued a warning.
The clergy gave police advance notice of the protest. They will likely be charged with a misdemeanor obstruction of right away, said Lt. Joe Finch of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
while i couldn't resist pointing out the amusing typo (which seems par for the course on today's indystar.com; you can really see all the staff reductions in the increasingly poor quality of news copy), the main reason i wanted to link to the story is to draw attention to the protest, and the janitors' poor pay and working conditions:
Inside glitzy buildings occupied by law firms, plastic surgeons and insurance companies, janitors are being forced to work for poverty wages and no benefits and do double shifts under alias names without overtime, claims the union, which organized the Justice for Janitors campaign.
The charges are being made against Erlanger, Ky.-based Corporate Cleaning Systems, a janitorial contract company that cleans seven office parks in Carmel and on Indianapolis' Northeastside. Those include Castleton Office Park, Conseco Insurance's building and Meridian Plaza.
SEIU said that janitors working for CCS are paid $6 to $7 an hour, have no health insurance and most can get only part-time work. Some employees report unsafe working conditions and said they often must provide their own cleaning supplies.
but what really struck me the most about the story wasn't any detail in the story, nor its poor construction, but the overwhelming vitriol in the talkback section. i don't know what planet these commenters live on (not one i would recognize), but wherever it is, apparently high-paying jobs are quite easy to come by there, which is odd considering that said planet is in danger of being overrun by aliens.¶