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Roger Schutt: "We can organize for a better life."

September 24, 2010

Talk to Roger Schutt for a few minutes about organizing security officers in the suburbs, and you gain an appreciation of why his fight is so vital.

A Whelan security officer at Boston Scientific's campus, Roger routinely receives the appreciation of the tenant's employees and property managers--but can barely live on his wages while supporting his seven-year-old daughter. Although he is subject to chronic back pain, Roger is unable to afford health insurance.

But the irony of protecting the safety and security of a large corporation in the medical industry while going without his own health care hasn't made Roger cynical. Instead, he is talking to his fellow officers about winning a majority sign-up election.

"The elites in this country have a club and we're not in it," Roger says. "The only thing keeping working people from becoming the working poor are the unions."

Roger's eyes were opened about the power of a strong union when he served on the bargaining committee at another unionized employer in 2007. He learned that, hand in hand with other unions, he can win better health care, wages, training and job protections with a union.

Roger wants more from life for his daughter, whom he describes as a "great reader, a talented dramatic artist" and a great card player. With a union, he's hoping to win better wages so that he can afford the ordinary things a bright child needs -- educational toys, time outdoors, movies -- as well as more of her father's time.

"Here on the low end of the security industry, it's hard to have any kind of life at all," Roger says. "That's why I voted for the union and why I'm talking to other officers to sign their cards, too.


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