In November 2005 the Service Employees International Union won the right to represent the 5,300 janitors who work for five of the city's largest cleaning companies. Since that time, though, there has been little reported progress in winning a contract for the janitors, who earn low wages and have no health insurance, according to reports from the Huston Chronicle.

A lawyer who represents management in labor matters argued that "while it can take six months to a year to negotiate an initial union contract, working out the issues shouldn't have been such a big hurdle for the janitors who have contracts with the same janitorial companies around the country."

Union representatives comment that it can take time to set up the contracts in cities like Huston, where the janitors have never had a union and there are a lot of workers to consider. According to union reports, the five contractors — ABM Janitorial Services, Sanitors Services of Texas, OneSource Facility Services, Pritchard Industries Southwest and GCA Services Group — control 72 percent of the office cleaning market.

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