California State Teachers' Retirement System officials have written to three property management groups that handle office buildings for the system in Houston, expressing concerns about the working conditions of janitors at those buildings.
The July 20 letter by CalSTRS Executive Director Jack Ehnes and Chief Investment Officer Christopher Ailman comes after more than 3,000 Houston janitors went on strike in early July protesting base wages of $8.35 an hour and what members say are long shifts without breaks or air conditioning. One janitors traveled to West Sacramento, Calif., to talk to the CalSTRS investment committee on July 12.
The letter to representatives of Thomas Property Group Inc., CBRE Global Investors and Pacific Coast Capital Partners said that while the Service Employees' International Union, which represents the striking janitors, has not made any specific complaints about CalSTRS properties in Houston, officials still are concerned that labor relations in Houston are at such a low point.
Obviously, protracted labor disputes have the potential to negatively impact investment returns, and actions that detract from the likelihood and potential for economic growth are not in CalSTRS' long-term interests, the letter reads.
Representatives of the three property management groups did not return phone calls.