Security Officers Call on U.S. Security Associates to Improve Jobs and Raise Company Standards in New York City

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Security officers and community supporters rallied in New York City last week to call on U.S. Security Associates to respect its employees and improve security jobs.

Officers at the Sony Corporation's headquarters building on Madison Avenue say that U.S. Security Associates has stood in the way of workers' attempts to gain better working conditions, wages, training and benefits by violating their right to organize. Officers marched together from Madison Avenue through Midtown.

NY3USSARally03292012.jpgKenesha Henry, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a mother of a 4-year-old girl spoke about not being able to care for her family due to a lack of adequate benefits. Henry said that as a U.S. Security Associates employee, she gets one sick day and one week of vacation per year.

"I am a parent. What am I supposed to do when my child is sick for more than one day?" said Henry, a Brooklyn resident.

"New York's working people need family-supporting wages to live in dignity," said 32BJ SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Hector Figueroa. "No one who works for a living should be in poverty. Especially in this expensive city, decent wages and benefits are critical."

32BJ represents security officers who protect commercial office buildings, higher education facilities, government facilities, museums, libraries, stadiums and other high profile sites in the city including the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Yankee Stadium, Fordham and Columbia Universities, all three of New York City area airports, the George Washington Bridge, the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The union is in the process of bargaining contracts covering some 10,000 security officers that are set to expire this year.

NY2USSARally03292012.jpgNext up in the efforts to professionalize the security industry are the city's commercial office buildings, with the contract for officers working at these locations set to expire on March 30th. But irresponsible contractors like U.S. Security Associates could undermine those efforts.

"Our fight to raise standards across the security industry isn't just about getting new contracts for security officers. It's about demanding respect on the job," Figueroa said.

At the Sony Building, security officers have previously protested what they call an unfair pay card system that USSA imposed on workers, which extracts fees for things like getting account balances and withdrawals.

Security officers and community members in several cities across the country have spoken out about the irresponsible record of U.S. Security Associates, urging the company to raise standards for the industry. The company faced public outcry in Philadelphia last year after a former employee was allegedly harassed on the job and then removed from her position. Most recently, the administration of Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said it does not plan to renew the company's contract to protect D.C. government buildings.

Read more about raising standards in the security industry at www.standforsecurity.org.