There were 8500 of them, clad in their bright red "Justice for Janitors" T-shirts, swinging noisemakers, getting arrested at mass rallies of civil disobedience. Long invisible to the city's executives and power brokers, they were a workforce overwhelmingly composed of Latino immigrants, subsisting on wages of less than $7 an hour. But for three weeks last April, the janitors demanded a steep wage hike and new respect in their working lives. The strike, led by the Service Employees International Union, worked: On April 22 the janitors' union settled with nine cleaning companies for a 25 percent increase over three years. Tom Robbins
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.