“The truth is, I’m ready. I’m not scared,” janitor Vilma Martinez told The Nation in Spanish last night. “Fear fades away, especially in the face of the unfair treatment we get here.” Martinez, who’s worked at Union Station for the past 19 years, said that the federal contractor ICC Cleaning pays her $8.75 an hour. She said she’s supposed to get regular check-ups for a serious heart condition, but only sees a doctor when she goes back to El Salvador, because she’s uninsured. [...]What's different is who's paying them. Our government shouldn't pay poverty wages. Sign our petition telling President Obama to sign the executive order that would give 2,000,000 federal workers a living wage.
Martinez told The Nation that if she could talk to the president, “I would ask him to help us get a decent salary, and respect on the job, and health insurance, so we don’t have to go back to our countries to get treated.” “With the help of god, and the help of my co-workers,” said Martinez, “I’m hopeful that at the end of the day we’ll be triumphant.”
10:06 AM PT: According to organizers, the strike has shut down about half the food court at the Ronald Reagan building and the McDonald's at the Air and Space Museum.