Up This Mess
Friday (June 13), janitors and union workers from the local
200United chapter of Service Employees International Union
took to the streets outside of the Capital District Psychiatric
Center to protest what they feel are substandard wages and
benefits. The action was part of SEIU’s national Justice for
According to Fred Pfieffer, union representative for 200United
SEIU, the Justice for Janitors campaign has four basic demands:
living wages, health insurance, pension, and fair treatment.
The latter encompasses many aspects of the job, including
a good working environment. Pfieffer argues that the hard
physical labor done by janitors is important work and deserves
the proper recognition by employers.
Janitors have a vested interest in the wages of their colleagues,
Pfieffer pointed out. When contract negotiations occur between
the building management and janitorial companies, janitors
can be undercut by the low wages paid by some companies, he
standards are eroded because Rayben is paying substandard
benefits and wages,” said Pfieffer. “What that means for [Capital
Region janitors] is we have a really hard time raising our
standards and benefits.”
Rayben Enterprises, Inc. employs the janitors at the Capital
District Psychiatric Center, who are paid $8 an hour. Pfieffer
said the prevailing rate in Albany is $9 per hour.
Raymond Walker, president of Rayben, did not return multiple
calls for comment on this story.
The picket line swelled to 20 janitors outside the Capital
District Psychiatric Center on New Scotland Avenue, with the
support of about a dozen onlookers. The event climaxed at
3 PM with a rally during which Pfeiffer talked about the need
to continue picketing to expose contractors who undermine
This nationwide protest came just two days before International
Justice for Janitors Day last Sunday (June 15). It marks the
first time Janitors for Justice has used a “fight-back strategy,”
said Pfieffer, who is prepared to protest more in the coming
stops with me, does it stop with you?” asks Capital District
Take the Test Coalition in conjunction with this year’s Capital
District Free HIV Testing Week, which begins Saturday (June
21) and runs through June 27. In addition to free testing
at various locations around the Capital Region throughout
the week, the Capital District Take the Test Campaign’s Outreach
Day, Saturday, will feature information booths on HIV/AIDS
prevention and services and safer-sex supplies.
are still far too many people walking around with HIV who
don’t know it,” said Blue Carreker, director of development,
marketing and public affairs for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.
“The best way to address this is to get the test.”
Capital District Take the Test Coalition was formed three
years ago and is in its third year of offering free HIV testing.
Although June 27 is the nationally recognized HIV-testing
day, Carreker said one day isn’t enough.
During the week, coalition members will provide free HIV testing
in 32 locations around the Capital Region. Those who take
advantage of free testing will receive a JAMZ 96.3 FM T-shirt,
and those who return for results will receive a Price Chopper
For more information, call (800) 201-AIDS [(800) 233-SIDA
for Spanish speakers] 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Free HIV Testing Schedule:
free confidential testing, (A) free anonymous testing, (BIL)
June 21: Waterworks Pub, 76 Central Ave., Albany. Walk
in 4-8 PM; 434-4686 x229. (C)
Sunday, June 22: Metropolitan Community Church, 275
State St., Albany. Walk in 2-4 PM; 434-4686 x229. (C)
Monday, June 23: Albany Medical Center, New Scotland
Avenue, Albany. By appointment. 12:30-4:30 PM; (800) 962-5065.
Albany Damien Center, 12 S. Lake Ave., Albany. Walk in 6-8
PM; 463-6824 x408. (C) (BIL)
Club 22, 22 South St., Glens Falls, Walk in 6-9 PM; 434-4686
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, Shaker Center, Route 155,
Latham. By appointment 9 AM-3 PM; 785-1146. (C)
Tuesday, June 24: Community Classroom, 220 Green St.,
Albany. Walk in 6-8 PM; 434-4686 x229. (C)
Glens Falls Health Center, 65 Ridge St., Glens Falls. Walk
in 3-8 PM; (800) 962-5065. (A)
Players, 77 Central Ave., Albany. Walk in 3-8 PM; 434-4686
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, 190 Fairview Ave., Hudson.
By appointment 2-6 PM; 828-4675. (C)
Wednesday, June 25: Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood,
200 Broadway, Troy. By appointment 9 AM-noon; 274-5640. (C)
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, 259 Lark St., Albany. By
appointment 10 AM-6 PM; 434-5678. (C)
Unity Hair Salon, 465 Fulton St., Troy. Walk in 1-4 PM; 434-4686
Thursday, June 26: Albany Medical Center, New Scotland
Avenue, Albany. By appointment 8:30 AM-7:30 PM; (800) 962-5065.
CDAACA’s A Light on the Hill, 326 Clinton Ave., Albany. Walk
in 7-9 PM; (800) 962-5065 or CDAACA at 427-2957. (A)
UHPP Teen Connection Clinic, 190 Fairview Ave., Hudson. Walk
in 2:30-6 PM. 828-4675. (A)
Friday, June 27: CDAACA’s A Light on the Hill, 326
Clinton Ave., Albany. Walk in 7-9 PM; (800) 962-5065 or CDAACA
at 427-2957. (A)
Centro Civico of Amsterdam, Inc., 143-145 E. Main St., Amsterdam.
10 AM-3:30 PM; 842-3762 x228. (A) (BIL)
Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center-CHEER, Lark Street and
Arbor Drive, Albany.
Walk In noon-4 PM; 463-6824 x408. (C) (BIL)
of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals
and their supporters marched through the streets of
Albany’s Center Square neighborhood Saturday morning
(June 14) to mark Capital Pride, a two-week-long annual
event sponsored by the Capital District Gay and Lesbian
Community Council. Starting at the Capitol, the paraders
made their way up State Street to Washington Park for
the day’s Pride in the Park festival, which featured
vendors, music, food and other festivities. This year’s
celebration also paid tribute to the 25th anniversary
of the creation of the rainbow flag in San Francisco
and the passage of the Sexual Orientation Non Discrimination
Act last December, which, after three decades of lobbying
the New York State Legislature, finally succeeded in
expanding the state’s civil-right laws to include protection
for gays and lesbians.