Peter Olney remembers life as an organizer

So I started working for the union in, like, April of 1991, and I’ll never forget meeting with Jono [Shaffer] a couple weeks before I started. He said, “You know Peter, here at the Janitors, we expect you to mobilize probably five hundred workers every week to march.” I was like, “Say what?” You know, I worked for the furniture workers a whole year. We never mobilized more than a hundred of our members for anything. I’m like, “You expect me—?” “Yeah, that’s what—.” I said, “Okay,” and sure enough, you know, for a number of reasons, one, because of the demographics of the workforce, the fact that people were newly organized and had that passion and had seen a difference and change in their lives because of that, and because of their schedules, too, because they start work at 5:00 p.m., so they’re free during the day, we did indeed succeed in almost every week turning out hundreds of members to march and protest, to try to conquer more jurisdiction for the union.

From the interview of Peter Olney by Andrew Gomez.

Donde Haiga Un Trabajador Explotado, Ahí Estaré Yo: Justice for Janitors’ Workers, Organizers, and Allies, n.d.