The historic event is the first time San Francisco janitors have been moved to large-scale civil disobedience. It comes as the janitors who clean buildings owned by real estate giants, like Shorenstein and Boston Properties, are being told that they must be prepared to pay up to $600 more in healthcare co-pays a month.
"We clean the buildings of some of the country's biggest and wealthiest corporations: the very ones that are standing in the way of working people being able to provide affordable healthcare for our families," said Mohamed Ismael, a janitor who works for Able. He cleans Embarcadero Center 4, owned by Boston Properties, a company that has reported total revenue of $1.7 billion in 2011. "For the past 18 years, I've worked hard and sacrificed so that I could provide healthcare for my children. Now the companies want to take it all away."
The janitors are standing up for their piece of the American dream and for working families in San Francisco. They have fought for decades for a toehold in the middle class, but with threats against their right to affordable healthcare, they fear for their families and for next generation.
They will continue to march and mobilize in the city's financial district until they reach a just settlement on their contract.