Security officers to vote on final offer; union recommends rejection
14 March 2008
|Minneapolis - Failing to reach agreement on a contract for 800 Twin Cities security officers, SEIU Local 26 has scheduled a vote on the employers' final offer Tuesday – but is recommending members reject it.
|No progress was made when negotiators for the union and five security companies returned to the bargaining table Thursday, the union said. The five companies are ABM Security Services, AlliedBarton Security Services, American Security, Viking Security, and Securitas Security Services USA, Inc.
"At negotiations yesterday, they offered no movement whatsoever towards a solution to the crisis facing the 98 percent of private security officers in the Twin Cities who cannot afford family health insurance, signaling their intent to trap security officers in low-wage jobs with no health insurance indefinitely," the union said in a statement.
The breakdown in negotiations came one week after the security companies issued what they described as their final offer, only to return Thursday after suggesting they still had room to bargain.
"No movement was offered, and security officers will now vote on the exact same offer on Tuesday, with the union bargaining committee unanimously recommending to reject it," Local 26 said.
Union members said they are frustrated by the lack of progress in achieving affordable health care.
"My son has to have surgery, and I can’t afford health insurance coverage for him," said Latondra Ingram, a security officer for American Security at the Baker Block in Minneapolis. "But this isn't just about us. This is about the kind of community we want to live in. It's not OK when a local CEO can make over $23 million in one year while we struggle to get by. Our companies say the building owners won't pay for affordable health care, but we have to ask: is that really true?"
"I have four kids without health care, and I just had to take one of them to the emergency room when he got food poisoning even though I knew I wouldn't be able to afford the bill," said Howard Worley, a security officer for American Security at Town Square in Saint Paul. "Our companies' last offer would trap us without affordable health care for our families for another five years. Not only is that simply unacceptable, it's just plain wrong."
On Feb. 25, Twin Cities security officers held a one-day strike in Minneapolis and Saint Paul – the first of its kind in the area – to send a strong message that they cannot afford to wait any longer for affordable health care.
"No one ever wants to have to go on strike," said Tommy Covington, a security officer for ABM at US Bancorp Center in Minneapolis, "but they left us no choice once already, and if it needs to get bigger, it will get bigger."
Nearly 800 security officers who protect the majority of Minneapolis and Saint Paul office buildings have been bargaining for affordable health care and better training standards for public safety. Currently, just 13 out of the nearly 800 officers are enrolled in family health insurance and just 17 percent are enrolled in any health plan at all through their employer. The officers have been bargaining with their employers for over three months and have been working without a contract since Jan. 1.
For more information
See the Workday special section on the Stand for Security campaign.