Saturday, October 23, 2021


Some states entice people back to the workplace by increasing safety standards and higher minimum wage; Bannon held in Contempt of Congress; and the latest cyber security concerns.


House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress; Trump announces new social media platform TRUTH Social; and the Biden administration says it will continue to expel migrants under Title 42.


An all-Black Oklahoma town joins big cities in seeking reparations; a Kentucky vaccination skeptic does a 180; telehealth proves invaluable during pandemic; and spooky destinations lure tourists at Halloween.

OR Businesses Ensure Janitors' Work is Secure During COVID-19


Thursday, April 23, 2020   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The coronavirus outbreak has left many Oregonians unemployed, but some businesses are working to preserve an often overlooked group of workers -- janitors.

Companies such as Nike and Intel have committed to keeping their janitorial staff working and not cutting hours. Janitors are deemed essential workers.

Norma Martinez is a member of the union SEIU Local 49 and a janitor at Moda Tower, owned by Portland's largest landlord, Unico Properties. She says it's been scary to watch other folks lose their jobs during this pandemic.

"I feel really happy because we continue to work -- and not just me, but all of my coworkers in the building," she states.

Nearly 300,000 Oregonians have filed for unemployment over the last month. SEIU Local 49 has applauded companies for their commitments, and says these workers can least afford to lose their jobs and are disproportionately people of color and immigrants. With employment, workers also have been able to keep their health insurance.

Keren Eichen, director of real estate services for Unico Properties LLC, says the company redeployed some janitorial staff to work on sanitizing buildings in order to preserve jobs.

"We want them to not worry about potentially losing their job when they're performing such a vital service," she stresses.

For Martinez, being employed also means the ability to support her children.

"My daughter is a student at the University of Portland," she relates. "She's at home right now studying, but I am still able to make that payment every month because I have a job."

Disclosure: SEIU Local 49 contributes to our fund for reporting on Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
California has collected more than 600 tons of unwanted prescription drugs since the Take-Back Day program began in 2010. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)

Health and Wellness

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out …

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE - This month marks the four-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, and an art project aims to help incarcerated survivors heal by telling …

Social Issues

OGDEN, Utah - Utah is one of only a handful of states that taxes food, but one state legislator says taxing groceries should become a thing of the …

In a new poll, 71% of all registered voters support strengthening rules to reduce oil and gas methane pollution, including 73% of Independents and 50% of Republicans. (Adobe Stock)


CASPER, Wyo. - A strong majority of voters across party lines say they want national rules similar to those passed in Wyoming to reduce methane …

Health and Wellness

ARLINGTON, Va. - Although COVID-19 rates have gone down, the virus continues to hit the Hispanic community especially hard. Now, a new campaign aims …

Child-care advocates say if North Dakota doesn't boost funding for the system, more families might pull out of the workforce because of access issues. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. - A portion of American Rescue Plan funding sent to North Dakota has yet to be divvied up. Groups that want to improve the child-care …


ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that mandates monitoring the state's drinking water for "emerging …

Social Issues

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Mike Parson is facing calls to get the Missouri Cybersecurity Commission off the ground after it was created by the …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021