Faith Leaders, Labor Unions to Rally Alongside Houston Janitors to Fight Loss of Good Union Jobs at Historic Downtown Building

For Immediate Release: July 23, 2019
Media Contact: Nora Olabi | 713-742-2239 | nolabi@seiutx.org

SEIU Texas is calling on Houston-based private equity firm TRC Capital to respect the dignity of all Houstonians.
Councilman Gallegos: It’s disappointing to see powerful multimillion-dollar put profit over people.

HOUSTON— SEIU Texas will hold its second demonstration at 3:30 p.m. on July 24 outside historic downtown Houston high-rise office building 1001 McKinney after union workers at the site were displaced in May. SEIU Texas janitors will rally alongside community members, faith leaders and fellow unions to demand Houston-based private equity firm TRC Capital Partners LLC, formerly known as The Redstone Companies, stop gutting protections for hard-working Houstonians and to reinstate a responsible janitorial contractor at the 72-year-old downtown office building.

“Companies that do business in our city should treat Houstonians with dignity and respect, but that doesn’t appear to be happening at 1001 McKinney,” said Houston Councilman Robert Gallegos, whose district includes downtown Houston. “It’s disappointing to see powerful multimillion-dollar put profit over people. It’s families, immigrants, women, and people of color who are disproportionately impacted when companies hire non-responsible contractors. I will always stand with working families.”

Nearly all of the janitors at 1001 McKinney were displaced in May when TRC Capital hired a non-union janitorial company to replace a union contractor for janitorial services. Olga Villegas is one of the workers who lost her union job as a result of the transition. Villegas was a janitor in the office building’s tunnels, where she kept public spaces and restrooms sanitary for the Houston business community for 12 years. The union contractor that Olga most recently worked for held the janitorial contract at 1001 McKinney for only the last three years. After Villegas lost her job, she struggled to find a stable work and is still making less than her former union job at 1001 McKinney.

“I’m devastated by TRC Capital’s decision to continue working with a janitorial contractor that doesn’t provide workers a guaranteed right to have a voice on the job or a clear process for resolving workplace issues,” Villegas said. “This isn’t a matter of being unable to afford my $10.75 an hour wage, which I was making before I was let go. TRC Capital is choosing not to acknowledge working people like me. But what’s happening at 1001 McKinney isn’t just about me or my former co-workers. I’m speaking out for all Houston janitors who are threatened when companies like TRC Capital choose not to work with responsible contractors. Our families lives are at stake.”

TRC Capital has managed over $700 million in hospitality assets, over $400 million in commercial real estate, and $400 million in values in sectors such as energy, food service, homebuilding, multifamily development, banking, and financial services, according to its website, although the value of its current holdings is private. TRC Capital claims its success is based on “improving value,” but it appears the only values it is improving is the bottom-line for greedy, powerful private interests that are willing to make a quick buck by exploiting hard-working janitors and their families.

“The success of real estate portfolios for private equity firms like TRC Capital is built on the backs of janitors who are dedicated to ensuring we all have clean and sanitary working conditions,” SEIU Texas President Elsa Caballero said. “When janitors work to keep the offices of some of the most powerful companies in the world clean, they deserve to be employed by a company that treats them with dignity and respects their fundamental right to be in a union, which ensures workers have a voice on the job. TRC Capital has not only hurt the working families who maintained their property, it is broadcasting a clear message that it has no regard for working class families. We call on TRC Capital to do the right thing: hire a responsible janitorial contractor at 1001 McKinney.”

We are calling on TRC Capital to reinstate any and all janitors displaced by their actions and only hire responsible contractors that pay workers a living wage, offer benefits and paid-time off, commits to protecting workers against job loss when contractors change, and recognize workers fundamental right to have a voice on the job.


About SEIU Texas
SEIU Texas represents more than 6,000 health care workers and janitors in Corpus Christi, El Paso and Houston. SEIU Texas has a track record of improving wages, benefits and working conditions for workers in the Lone Star State. SEIU Texas recently helped contract municipal security officers win the first security officer union in Texas in June 2019. SEIU TX launched its latest campaign to organize Houston airport workers. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter