Janitors at Health Centers Picket Over Wages, Benefits

About 200 janitors and union organizers picketed Wednesday in front of Harbor/UCLA Medical Center in Torrance asking for better wages and lower health-care payments.

The janitors are employed by Pedus Care but work at four county-run health facilities: Harbor/UCLA, Olive View, High Desert and El Monte Valley centers.

Since Aug. 23, Pedus Care has been negotiating with the Service Employees International Union over wages and health care benefits for janitors.

Janitors, whose average pay is $6.17 an hour, have to pay $38 a month for health care, said Blanca Gallegos, a union spokeswoman. Family coverage costs $270 a month.

A Pedus Care spokesman said the company would not comment about the issue while negotiations are taking place.

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