…there’s another simple way the Chases and Exxons of the world are connected to the janitors.
“Every employee including their CEO presumably needs to use the bathroom. And when they go in to the bathroom, it has to be clean,” says Dube. “This is a very basic necessity that is filled: They can’t work in an office overrun with trash.”
And thanks to janitors like Hernan Trujillo, they don’t have to. He started cleaning offices soon after graduating from high school, to help pay for his mom’s medical bills when she got sick. He says he can’t help but notice the photos on the desks he cleans.
“When I work in the floors, I always look in the pictures and I’m always imagining ‘Wow, there are so many happy faces!’” he says. The vacation pictures, the baby pictures, he loves looking at them. But there’s one kind of photo that gets to him. “When the kid is graduating from college,” he says. Then he apologizes, because he is crying. “That was one of my parents’ dreams,” he says.
Trujillo composes himself and explains that’s why janitors are striking in Houston. If they got paid even a little more, he says, enough to make ends meet and maybe save a bit at the end of the month, it could help families send their kids to college, just like the children in those pictures on the desks he cleans.