According to the American Prospect, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will be expanding its Justice for Janitors movement to target city and county employees throughout the southern states. In recent months, the SEIU has launched aggressive janitorial recruitment and bargaining campaigns in 10 southern and southwestern states. Reports indicate that the campaigns, which stretch from Nevada to the Florida panhandle, are part of a larger effort to revitalize the labor movement in regions that have been historically hostile to organized labor.

SEIU officials specifically target the southern states because of their population growth. According to reports, these states also represent a large number of congressional votes, 185 to be exact. It is expected that a change in the south could lead to improved national policies on labor and immigration reform.

The city of Houston has been in the forefront of the unionized effort since late November with more than half of the janitorial workers employed by the city’s five largest janitorial service companies formed an official union. This set the stage for bargaining over wages, health insurance, and work schedules, which is scheduled to begin in February.

Reports also indicate that there are ongoing negotiations in Texas to unionize janitorial workers.

For more information on SEIU efforts, click here.

Click here to read about onging negotiations between SEIU and the University of Miami.