New Contract with Living Wage Helps Security Officers Keep Up With Rising Cost of Living
Washington, D.C. – 32BJ SEIU DC commercial security officers have secured a tentative, four-year agreement with the city’s largest security contractors—affecting 3,000 commercial security officers—that includes fair wage increases and maintains benefits at their current level.
“We put our lives on the line every day. This contract recognizes our hard work and will allow us to keep with us with the cost of living in DC,” said Krystal Coleman, a security officer and 32BJ SEIU bargaining committee member.
Negotiations for a new union contract covering 3,000 private security officers began in February between 32BJ SEIU and private security contractors including Admiral, Allied Barton, Securitas, G4S and Universal.
By the end of the new contract, most 32BJ security officers will earn at least $17.54 an hour. The agreement—subject to ratification by the security officers—also maintains current employer-paid healthcare, improves working conditions and job protections, and provides an increase in retirement benefits.
“With security concerns growing in the District, it’s more important than ever that security officers earn a living wage to ensure that the security industry is professional and prepared to handle emergencies. With this contract, the men and women who secure the nation’s capital will be able to support their families and their communities,” said Jaime Contreras, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU. “This contract is a win for the entire city.”
The victory for security officers is part of a wave of recent efforts to improve the lives of D.C’s low-wage workers including a $15 an hour minimum wage slated to appear on the November ballot,
paid family leave which is under consideration by Council, and a pending bill in Council to grant full-time hours to thousands of low-wage janitors.
District security officers safeguard buildings in one of the nation’s strongest and most profitable commercial real estate markets. Among high profile commercial office buildings officers protect are Gallery Place, the Watergate Offices, the National Press Building, the National Geographic Building, International Square and NPR Headquarters.
As contract negotiations have continued for the last several months, security officers have received an outpouring of support from tenants, community leaders and elected officials. Last week, security officers rallied in Farragut square and were joined by former Mayor Vincent Gray and Reverend Grayland Haglar.
“I am committed to raising industry and job standards for DC security officers and all workers in the District,” said former Mayor Vincent Gray.
Tens of thousands of 32BJ SEIU security officers up and down the East Coast will negotiate contracts in 2016-2017 to raise wages and standards of their industry. More than 12,000 NYC security officers are currently negotiating a contract that expires on April 30 and 2,500 Philadelphia security officers will be bargaining for a new contract this summer.
With more than 155,000 members in nine states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area and Baltimore, MD 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country